When Alex Vainer, a logistics officer with the Canadian Army, returned from a tour of duty in Kandahar, he was assigned to work for Major Newton*, a maintenance officer in Pathway, an hour and a half northwest of Ottawa. Alex found the major to be standoffish and quick to criticize. Even worse, the major often unloaded work on Alex. “He gave me things that were his to do and were inappropriate for me to handle,” he says. The major didn’t mentor the people below him and it often seemed he was only looking out for myself.
He would ask Alex for candid advice on supply issues and when Alex replied with what he thought was his confidential perspective, the major would forward on his reply unfiltered to the commander. “l didn’t really enjoy working with him at all. He had this real ‘better than you’ attitude,” he says. Alex tried not to do anything that would put him in close proximity to the major. Since he was his boss, this wasn’t always possible. “l went to work and did my job,” he says. He saw that the major behaved that way with everyone. Looked at him and thought ‘he has flaws’ but I didn’t take it personally,” he says. He also turned to friends outside of the office with whom he could vent. At one point, Alex thought he would go to the chief of staff to share what was going on but then thought better of it. “l didn’t feel it was my job to go and topple him,” he says. Plus he didn’t want to be seen as a complainer and wasn’t sure sharing his opinion would change anything. Since assignments in the military’ are often short, Alex decided to wait it out.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
Eventually the major as sent to another position and Alex filled in for his role for four months. He said it was a vindicating experience because people commented on what a better job he was doing. In the end, Alex says he has no ill will toward the major. He believes it made him more self-aware. “l often ask myself, ‘Is this something I do with my subordinates? ” Ultimately he feels he’s a better manager because of it. Instruction: Based on the story, give your reaction towards Alex case. Explain your opinions/ Ideas regarding the situation.