I'm the newest in a team of four supervisors, with multiple directs who all report to all of us.  We have a core staff of 32 (eight teams of four) who each have a supervisor assigned, and our shift patterns are designed to partly line up. We have another team of three doing the same job who work remotely, a single member of staff who works in the same building, and another team of three doing a different job remotely and on shifts that don't match ours in any way. 

I'm working on rolling out o3s with the two teams assigned to me, but I have no ideas how to handle the "semi-directs" (for want of a better term). I'm not in a position to change the structure, and I don't have the time to add o3s with the seven "semi-directs". Even if I did, they don't have the time to have o3s with all four of us (though I don't think my colleagues do o3s). 

My employer's management training consists mostly of "here's what our policy says", so I've been listening to MT to try to get some advice, and it's starting to make a difference, but I feel like no improvement is taking place in the staff without a clear line manager, and forming relationships is something I struggle with. 

mrreliable's picture

I'm just throwing this at the wall to see if it sticks.

Would there be any future in sitting down with the other three supervisors and developing a plan among yourselves? You said you have two teams assigned to you, is that two teams assigned to each? Could your plan be to directly manage the team members assigned to each, then have a weekly meeting with all the supervisors to work on the overlap issues?

It seems to me that with no management training (unfortunately very common), a philosophy of "everybody get together and play nice," and no guidance other than "look at the policy manual" ("I don't know," "I don't want to talk about it," "Leave me alone," "figure it out yourself"),  your executive level doesn't have much commitment to a particular management style. If presented with a plan from the group about the possibility of more efficient management methods that you've developed as a group, they might appreciate the improvement.

Again, this isn't from experience, just throwing out an idea.

JN's picture

Yes, that's pretty much it. I think I knew it would be as well, but I'm both newer and younger than the others by quite a lot, so leading change is difficult. I have managed it with other things, so I'm sure I can manage it again.

tlhausmann's picture
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Actually, there are multiple podcasts on this topic:

Do a search on "matrix" in this website...I think you will find the casts helpful.

JN's picture

Thank you - I'd tried searching but wasn't sure what terms to use. Knowing to look for "matrix" helps a lot.

tlhausmann's picture
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Where the podcasts helpful?

I had a great experience working in managed services. Remote personnel were managed and scheduled by a service delivery manager (SDM.) My role included partnering with the SDM to schedule personnel for assignment to my contract (full time, part-time, or project-based.)

What I found helpful was being intentional about building relationships with my peers on other contracts--which is akin to you having peer supervisors. The relationships were key (for me) to prioritize the work via our SDM so that we did not create undue constraints on our shared resources...ultimately leading to the best possible service for our contracts/clients.

In your case, mrreliable is correct, without a person (in my case an SDM) to schedule personnel for competing projects then the four of you ought establish a similar function through regular communication.

Feel free to PM me where we can share our contact information. I'm happy to go into more detail from my experience if you wish.