This is the first post in what will be a multi-part series about what not to do as a manager or leader. For better or worse in the last year I have had the “opportunity” to witness a lot of things that I wouldn’t recommend any manager or leader do if they want to be successful. This particular example applies to any aspect of your life, not just the professional part.
One of the two jobs I worked at during my two year odyssey was a contract position for a large construction firm. The job was to perform a remote Datacenter consolidation and standardization. The subject of this post is the Project Manager for said project, we will call him Matt.
My second week there Matt took me to meet another guy on the Infrastructure team that I had been communicating with via email about some System Center Configuration Manager reports he was going to write for the project. As we were leaving his desk Matt turned around and just flipped the guy off. Right in the middle of everyone. I was incredulous. The guy who got flipped off? He must have been used to it because he didn’t even acknowledge it. For my part, I was so stunned I didn’t even say anything. After about 5 seconds of Matt flipping him off without a response, Matt just walked away. My only thought was “That was completely messed up.” Trying to give Matt the benefit of the doubt I tried to convince myself that there must have been an inside joke or something involved. However, his actions really bothered me and the fact I didn’t even say anything bothered me even more.
Fast forward two more weeks. I’m sitting at my desk when Matt walks by on his way to lunch. Neither one of us says anything to the other and right before he walks out the door to go to lunch, he turns back around, walks over and flips me off. What makes this more incredible is that I shared the cubicle area with the other contractor so he witnessed everything I am about to transcribe.
Me (sarcastic voice): “Wow Matt, you are really cool!”
*5 second silence while we stare at each other*
Matt: “Hold on I’ve got something else for you”
*reaches his other hand into his jeans pocket*
*launches the middle finger on that hand*
*5 second silence while I stare at him with a completely unimpressed facial expression*
*5 more seconds*
*5 more seconds*
He doesn’t say a word and just walks off. For the following three weeks he never said a word to my face despite being my project manager and walking by my desk multiple times every day. For my part, I never attempted to initiate any kind of a conversation as I had zero desire to ever speak to him again. I left the contract job within the month.
I never disclosed this information to HR at the company because I knew I would be leaving as soon as possible, should I have done so? How would you have handled the situation?