So there’s this senior manager I work with, let’s call him Bob. Bob’s a decent guy, and he’s recently been promoted from manager to senior manager, so the organization likes him too. He’s not my most favorite person to work with, but he’s decent and I’ve worked with far worse. He and I have a very good working relationship.
Hierarchy-wise, we both report to the same director, so at least on paper, we’re at the same level. That said, he’s a Sr. Manager, he has a bunch of direct reports, who in turn have direct reports. I’m just me, the most-senior tech geek in the department, but no direct reports.
I’ll add in that before both of us moved into our current position I worked for Bob, for about 6 months. Then I was promoted, then he was promoted.
My problem is that nowadays, he STILL sometimes acts like I work for him. Most of the time it’s fine - by definition, my job is to help the developers on the teams he oversees, so it’s not at all odd for him to call me up and say “Hey, can you give Joe a hand? There’s the code issue he needs some help with.” No big deal.
Where I start to get stabby is when he starts treating me like I work for him in public. Especially now - a couple teams just got reorganized, there’s a lot of new folks on the teams in question who don’t really get the organization at all because they’re new, and there’s generally a bit of instability going on. Not being clear around roles and leadership is shitty for everyone; folks need to know who does what and who is responsible for what.
Nothing he’s done is rude, or bad, or even anything more than being slightly more boss-ish than is warranted when he talks to me. A good example happened the other day - he and I and a couple of guys who report to Bob were working on a deploy issue at night, and it took us until about 11pm to fix it. Once it was trending towards done, Bob sends me and his two direct reports a message saying “Hey guys, once this last issue is fixed, feel free to head out and also take off early tomorrow!”
Which is fine and good, if you report to him. I don’t; it’s not up to him when I sign off or if I work all day or take off early. He’s not my manager.
I worry that this kind of thing 1) undermines my own authority; we’re peers and I’d like to be portrayed as such when he talks with others on the team and 2) it creates uncertainty among the team members in a time where we should be striving to be clear about roles. And OK, I’ll admit it, #3: it’s annoying as hell.
I replied to that message much the same as I have in previous situations: with humor, and gently pushing back. So for this one, I said “You, too, Bob! Take off early tomorrow!”
Seeing as this kind of thing keeps happening, should I say something? If so, what should I say? Am I overreacting? I’ll add in that this guy is obviously a management favorite, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if I do indeed end up working for him again at some point in the future, and annoying-tendencies aside, that wouldn’t be all that bad. I really don’t hate the guy or mind working with him at all, I just wish he’d stop treating me like I’m one of his direct reports.