Mark & Mike,

First let me say how much I tremendously enjoy the podcast. I'm a new manager (90 days or so) at my employer, and have found your podcast to be a tremendous tool in helping me grow quickly!

I actually have two issues here involving an employee that I inherited. The direct is older than I am (I'm 26), but only has 2-3 years more experience than I. Here are my issues

1. Implementing O3's... I sent the recommended template, with a few tweaks announcing that we would begin our O3's in three weeks or so. The next day I asked the employee if he had received my email (he hadn't responded yet). He informed me that he had, and made the comment that, "...he simply didn't see what benefit was in it for him."

I understand the benefit from my perspective, but what would be your suggested response to this?

2. Same employee...I have heard from another co-worker that the direct has made the comment that, "It's hard working for a manager when you know more than they do." Truthfully, this is not the case, and frankly I feel he is simply disgruntled by the fact that he has a new manager, and that I am asking that he implement a few things he has not been required to do up to this point. Is this "hearsay" comment something that is appropriate to use the feedback model on?

jmachols's picture

I know exactly what your are going through. My entire team is older (OK, how about more experienced) than I am, in many cases by 10 years or more. For the most part it was not an issue, but there were a couple folks who had problems. I tried not to be too cocky, but still maintain confidence. I manage technical people, so if they sense weakness or indecision, you get that mentality of "this person doesn't know what they are doing".

With the exception of one person, just by doing the job well and involving the team, everyone got on board. I did have one person who did not, and he said the typical things "I know more than you, I am more experience, I should have your job, you are just a kid (that one always got to me)". I guess I was lucky in that he said it outright, so it wasn't hearsay for me so I could easily address it.

I am guessing in your case this person is a high "D"? It was in my case, so I used high D feedback and told the person during feedback. “If you want my job, here is what you have to do....if you listen to my feedback in the O3's (a good 'carrot' for getting him there), I can give you the skills to get promoted and get my job”...that type of communication. I am happy to say that did work for the most part. There were painful moments, and sometimes when he questioned why we were doing things or he was going to do it his way, I reminded him there was a reason I was in this job and he wasn't. Harsh yes, but eventually it got through.

Good Luck!


drhowell1's picture

Thanks for the response! It helps to talk with others that have experienced the same things. Here's what I think I need to do

I think I'll simply let this comment slide until I've had a chance to do a couple of O3's with him. If he does not bring these "issues" to the table during our O3's yet I hear that he continues to make negative comments to other co-workers, I'll make it a point to give him some feedback on how important it is to be open in our O3's and how it is detrimental to make derogative comments to co-workers about the boss.


bflynn's picture

Just a comment - I had the same read that Jeff did - this person is a high D, judging from the two reactions. There may be some resentment where "I know more than you" is really saying "Your job should have been mine".

I think your plan to handle should work. You don't have to give feedback about everything.

As far as your other question - This person doesn't want to "waste" an hour every week doing O3s. In the end, you don't really care about his motivations as long as he attends the O3s. I can't get real specific without knowing more about the business, but go back to the base of what a high D wants - power, authority, prestige, recognition, etc. That is what motivates him.

Hope it helps.


lou's picture

Just a note, I'd advise you to carefully phrase your "it's detrimental to talk this way about me to your co-workers" comment. I'd probably say something more along the lines of "You have the chance to step up in the near future to a technical lead position and on from there. Bu you'll need to show that you can operate in a hierarchy. When you make comments like this about your management it directly affects your chances of moving into these postitions."

In other words. Here's your carrot. I'm looking for you to get that carrot. But if you don't move forward the carrot keeps moving further away.

Mark's picture
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To those of you who are responding, thank you and well done. Great thoughts from all.

1. First of all, remember the two part rule about managing:

a. You don't have to have all the answers.
b. You CERTAINLY don't have to have all the answers right NOW.

And, you really ARE the boss. You don't need to remind anyone - least of all High D's... they KNOW who the bosses are. You don't need to be forceful when you turn a request into a demand. And you don't need to communicate a demand in a demanding way.

I might have said, in true "I have no desire to be in conflict with you because you are not my peer" style: "Hey, it's new, I understand. I'd like you to be there. Please respond to the mail and pick a time. Thanks." All with a smile.

2. Don't say anything about the stupid comment. It was stupid, and at times, you do stupid stuff and I do stupid stuff. Just let it go, but remember it. I probably wouldn't ever mention it, but more instances would cause me to accelerate feedback and consequences. And the feedback wouldn't be about him talking about you... it would be about him talking negatively about ANYONE on the team, behind their back. If he seemed not to get it, I'd use the cowardly... that will get a High D's attention, and if he isn't to be saved, it will be as if you handed him a shovel so that he can dig a hole. If he can be saved, he'll adjust. (And most do.).