How to push back a peer so that organisational lines are respected.


I am a Director in a large, European multinational company running a function within in a business unit. I have a peer who sits within our corporate HQ who is constantly getting involved in my work area and crossing the border between a corporate staff job and business execution.  I (and I know his boss) see his role as much more about coordinating between units. He sees his role as much more hands-on and direct execution focus and therefore likes to get involved in everything I do.  Occasionally he cuts me out of meetings or tries to steel work.

On a personal level, we get on well but are, frankly, engaged in a small organisational turf war over visibility and glory. I know  what I should do- just do what's best for the organisation, focus on communication and being effective. But frankly....I want to win this organisational battle.  Any suggestions or advice?

 Thank you

Simon S.




430jan's picture

...will be won by doing what's best for the organization, focusing on communication and being effective.

Glory is overrated. Work your plan.

mdave's picture

Pride cometh before the fall.  Think effectiveness and organization first. Keep your friends close, your enemies closer and lead both of them. The truth will work itsself out eventually.



SimonS111's picture

 Thanks MDAVE & 430Jan for replies. I agree in principle with you.....but in reality do you really think the truth does work itself out in business life today?  I find its nice in theory...but in day to day biz life today, time scales are too short to really show up true effectiveness. I find its more and more about visibility and glory.


BJ_Marshall's picture
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By taking the long view and focusing on how you deliver results to the organization while fostering important relationships, I'm confident that you will get ahead while your colleague stays behind. Nothing settles a turf war better than becoming your combatant's boss. :)

Do you have Peer O3s with this guy? Perhaps you could foster a relationship with him and turn him into an ally of sorts.

mdave's picture

  I like to win as well as the next guy. The catch is to understand what the prize really is and what you may sacrifice to gasp it. One of my guiding quotes (which I can't quote accurately) is one by Colin Powell about separating your position on an issue from your ego. When I see myself wanting to "win", I have to be very cautious to keep the two separate. It makes it much easier to come back and contribute the next day. Keep the long view !!

royd's picture

can anyone tell if he is effective ? Is he supposed to be helping you get your job done and is he ? staff jobs with coordination as part of the responsibilities may lack visibility of results for him to get recognised, maybe that's why he is 'stealing', has he been moved from a more hands on role to this new role ?

Is there something in his role (as his boss sees it)  that can make a significant impact to you or the org more generally that you could help him focus on ?

Maybe look to strengthening your relationships with your network if you think people do not know you well enough to understand who you are and what you do.

mfculbert's picture

What is your DISC profile type?

I truly do believe that truth works to the top in the end. If it doesn't then I don't want to stay with that company. It is not a place I am willing to place so much of my life. I have certainly seen UNtruth destroy organizations with amazing rapidity.

apin101's picture

thanks Royd and Mfculbert for comments. Yes, he has been moved from a more hands on role to staff/co-ordination role. He is high D (as I am ) so co-ordination is not his style. He likes to dive and get things done. Hence his cutting across into my role in the line business.  Is he effective? Difficult to say at this stage. No results (sales) but a lot of noise and activity. He can spin up thoughts and ideas...but spins too many and gets people confused. 

royd's picture

easy to be on the outside looking in - but see if any of this helps - I am guessing a lot but I'll be direct

situation - high D newly moved to role. I guess due to restructuring,  also maybe your BU/function is still making money when others were/are not. He seems to me to be thrashing around trying to make an impact using what he knows - his style and maybe knew your BU/function or sees it as a route for this. If you treat him as an enemy he will become one, if you treat him as an ally he may become one.

I think you are fighting the wrong battle, any energy you are using to defend your turf from him would be better spent trying to help him to help you get your stuff done or just to help him get stuff done his boss needs. If you feel challenged by him use that feeling to recheck your priorities and performance and relationships to make sure they are all moving as you want.

You have a real advantage in also being a high D and having some relationship with him already. How would you feel, what would you do and what help would you need if you were in his position ?

Good luck

Roy (high C - as if you had not guessed !)