[b]Background:[/b] I started in my organization when I was 19 and (as people sometimes do when they're 19) I was very abrasive to my coworkers, thought I knew more than everybody, and went entirely against the grain of my office. Having acquired a little bit of humilty and a modicum of wisdom (all the hard way), I'm miraculously still employed here at age 25 and am now a team lead in my unit.

[b]Dilemma:[/b] I've figured out how to make my unit supervisor happy and he would like me to take his position when he retires next year. ( :D ) His supervisor, however, will take the lead on the hiring decision. ( :( ). This is bad for me because she:
a) still remembers the stupid things I did and routinely took the heat for them,
b) is concerned about appearances as my dad works in the same organization (but an entirely different chain of command),
c) doesn't really like my boss and would like to hire someone with her interests in mind. do I make my boss happy (what I've found is the key to being a great direct) [i]and[/i] make his boss happy without stabbing him in the back?

jhack's picture

Sounds too simple: find out what her goals are for 2008, and help her acheive those goals.

Her goals and your boss's goals should be aligned.

If you boss is going to retire, and he wants to help you, then he can help by providing opportunities for you to help her. And by helping you get one on one time with her. That is risky, but you might be able to put your chips on the table, take responsibility for your youthful indiscretions, and show how you've become an effective manager.

And if it turns out that you burned that bridge long ago, then so be it. You're just starting in your career and you'll have lots of opportunities in the coming years.


aasloan's picture

Agreed on the goals - and they are. I'll especially work towards getting more face time with her. A question on the goals, though: even though they're technically aligned (we just picked up cascading goals and objectives) their methodology is very different as is their mindset which leads to a lot of very public conflict between the two of them. I guess I'm just concerned that by aligning myself with my boss it's impossible to align myself with her due to the highly charged nature of their conflict. Maybe I'm going in circles with this - any suggestions you might recommend would be helpful.

jhack's picture

If he's announced his retirement, and his methods are at odds with hers...

...align your methods with hers. She is the big boss and she controls your future.

"There's more than one way to skin a cat." Don't get too caught up in the "how" for now. Learn what you can from her. I have often been pleasantly surprised when I understand WHY the big boss does what she does...