Reining in a manager who’s gone rogue

Q: “Our new regional manager was transferred here after being demoted from a higher-level position. This guy has no idea what our jobs involve and apparently doesn’t care. He seems to feel that cutting costs will help him return to the corporate ‘ivory tower,’ so he has started randomly reducing our work hours.

“Previously, schedules were posted two weeks in advance, but now they can change at a moment’s notice. Employees are frequently called at home and told not to come in the next day or instructed to leave as soon as they arrive at the office. Meanwhile, the work is piling up. How can we end this nightmare?” Frazzled

A: If this chaos is a reflection of your new leader’s management style, then his recent demotion is completely understandable. Before approaching him, however, you need to determine the driving force behind these cost reductions.

If slicing payroll was his own original idea, you should help your manager see how staff shortages could actually harm the business. But if he is simply responding to orders from above, then you need to demonstrate the benefits of a more orderly implementation plan.

Either way, the key is to convince your disorganized boss that the current strategy might make him look bad to upper management. If returning to corporate is his ultimate objective, then that’s the best way to influence him.

Adjusting to a new manager can be tough. Here are a few helpful strategies: How to Survive a New Boss.