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Thread: the definition of power and control

  1. #1
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    the definition of power and control

    I think this is relationship based, even though it is a work one. It is a pattern one as well. I realized this is the total definition of power and control. My supervisor and I talked about something the Friday before spring break, I had made a decision and he seemed fine on the phone with it. Then Saturday morning he sends an email that I get Sunday night saying I am facing disciplinary action for making the decision, and he is gone on a cruise for the week of course so I can't talk it out with him. I am a wreck, making plans to be fired, or quit immediately. I go to my DR and my counselor, basically waste part of my break on this. When I saw my counselor and described my symptoms I got a probable diagnoses of PTSD, (no wonder I am struggling to let go of stuff).

    In any case yesterday we had our meeting, he brought it up and I asked what happened since we were fine on the phone. He said he had been fine, he agreed with my decision, and then he realized I had made a decision. So the simple act of a qualified subordinate (don't know if female is part of it) making a decision was all it took for him to become threatening. Like seriously WTF! But unfortunately I know this is pretty common. Back to relationships of power and control, will we ever get beyond that as humans? Who knows, I am just working very hard to move on, but we all know this will come up again because,,, well humans.

  2. #2
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Sometimes it is not power and control but simply a bad fit between people working together. If someone in a supervisory position is into control, those working with him or her require clear boundaries established. Autonomy is not an option. Unfortunately, those who are wanting autonomy are in a bad fit. Yes, as the supervisor changes, the boundaries will change.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I am glad you asked him “what happened?” because I wondered the same thing. Apparently you “made a decision” and he didnt want you to decide on that exact thing.

    The specific problem here is that he has not (apparently?) articulated to you decisions you may not make. Or else he HAS articulated those facts and you are not listening and complying.

    I think your 2nd paragraph above reflects thinking that I call “spinning” and it is unproductive for your work. It is “awfulizing” and generalizing, and just not useful. Certainly I understand doing some of it when feeling bad but perhaps starting this thread might indicate you are focusing too much on spinning thoughts. You can throw around ideas of control, sex discrimination and human falibility all you like, but those thoughts (while being true in some sense) sound like an excuse.

    Anyway, to me it seems that the real problem is your supervisor does not want you to make specific decisions without consulting him and you dont comply. Why is that? At this point, after the Improvement meeting with him, you should have the facts you need to comply. Do you have those facts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    I am glad you asked him “what happened?” because I wondered the same thing. Apparently you “made a decision” and he didnt want you to decide on that exact thing.

    The specific problem here is that he has not (apparently?) articulated to you decisions you may not make. . .
    At this point, after the Improvement meeting with him, you should have the facts you need to comply. Do you have those facts?
    I was hoping that at the meeting, a list would be made of what decisions required his sign off--not input, but rather required him to officially make them or sign off on them, since you get his input and then he says you do something you are not authorized to do.

    Was there a clear list drawn of what you are authorized to do, what decisions, and what you are not authorized to do?

    I think you might need to request another meeting and have that list made up, in presence of his supervisor. And that is where I would address the really big problem you mention of him not giving your staffing and forcing you to hold camp when you are short staffed, which I thought, from what you said earlier, is illegal.

    I would also get this list and I would go to an attorney with all your documentation, because his comment to you about exercise seems like something you could interpret as harassment.

    Sorry to anybody who is offended by that--if he is taunting you, you have support for a claim that he is bullying you.

    Do something with what you have, now.

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    I totally agree with Tybee.

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    Thank you all, I understand that from the outside it is hard to tell. And on the authoritative scale I am very low. I get irritated with my staff when they need too much hand holding, I want them to make good decisions so that usually comes with a few bad decisions and you can't freak out about it. Even with kids I want to teach them skills to make good decisions, it seems that our department has now moved towards a much more authoritative style (or just maybe with him?).

    The history includes when I had such a difficult staff decision that I asked his advice for, I honestly did not know the best way to handle it, and he basically said no.
    Last edited by Zoe Girl; 4-5-18 at 8:18am. Reason: cut out story

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Hey Zoe, this latest post from you is a lot of story. A lot of summary, a lot of background, a lot of tangent. You know, those of us here listen a lot to your rants about work. That is all ok. really.

    But for for the good of the order, could you answer this direct question, and perhaps elaborate on it: do you now know what decisions your boss wants you to NOT make?

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    He said i make none concerning my program, registrations, programming, staffing, were part of it. I think i am allowedto coordinate directlyfrom withthe school. Programs that are supervised by another supervisor (my summer camp) i can make the decisions they allow me to make. That is as clear as he made it and his supervisorwas there.

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    What strategy was developed so that the process of procuring approval would be followed? Do you make a summary of activities or program for the week, month and submit for for review? I cannot believe that there isn't some process for all these programs that each staff member and supervisor must follow. What is the format for other staff? Is there a uniform process that each supervisor must follow? I find it hard to believe that each supervisor can change a process and create confusion. Ask for that process or set of procedures.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    ZG:

    I encourage you to go back and read through all the posts you have posted on here about your work.

    Then ask yourself: "Is this really worth it?"
    “I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

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