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Submitted by Nevergiveup on


I have an ex staff who was leading a product. This was because the head had not been hired yet and she was stepping up.

It was made clear to her by my boss even before I joined (I am reasonably new) that there was going to be someone else more senior than her leading the project and she was too junior.

She caused minor strife in the team in the past but I've closed one eye because of her ability to deliver reasonable results.

So... She unfortunately felt that since she was doing an ok job, she should remain in charge.

I brought in someone that used to work with me and had him lead the project.

Aware that this may be a bit sticky, I have been giving her a month of heads up that this was going to happen, and I've recognised her contributions even in public and thanked her for her work.

When my guy joined, I made it clear to her that she would do fantastic under him as he was very good and could learn a lot from him. I would also support her if she decided to try something else.

After that, she went for a scheduled holiday, thought it through, and came back to give me her decision.
She just didn't want to work with me again.

She interviewed for the other job in the company and refused to work with my new hire. This went on for a few weeks before she officially made the move. I also talked to my boss about this and she had a private word with her because she is close to him.

While I was disappointed she asked to move because she had something against me rather than pure development, I supported her and she went.

What I didn't know, was that she had been badmouthing me in the company behind my back. At first it was one person who warned me, then another.

This is particularly tricky because my boss is close to her. I have however been very open with my boss in regards to this entire process. He sometimes sides her but most of the time sides me, but it's just a non-ideal situation.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Particularly 1. How I deal with the situation
2. How do I talk to my boss about it
3. Should I confront my ex staff in private about this.

I can see lots of pros and cons both ways. I am hoping to get some learning and some experience from you guys.

jazzlover's picture

I don't see enough up side to taking any action, but I do see a down side. You could become part of a s/he said, s/he said thing, and both of you will be kind of sloughed off as being sour grapes. That could make it more difficult for you when you need support on something in future. My $0.02: If and when you get wind of statements that are really injurious, or can jeopardize the company's success, address those statements with your boss in that context, requesting their guidance. Otherwise, let your behaviour and performance speak for itself. 

williamelledgepe's picture
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Probably not the best advice, but I have had this problem - and I have ignored it.  In the long haul the complainer gets found out and (in my case) they have left the company.  I focus on my results as well as my relationship with my directs and boss - and I've been OK (so far).  I write it off as gossip and hope others will judge me on the performance I demonstrate to them.  I dont; know if this is the best advice, but haven't yet found an alternative that I like.  

When people like this complain, they sometimes complain to my C-level Exec.  This does bother me  - it is much more difficult to let this roll of my shoulder (wrong metaphor/idiom?).  I rationalize, by assuming if a C-level exec has a problem with me, I will hear about it from them.  While I don't fully believe this to be true, I figure the risk is higher if I go to him saying, "I heard you were told ..."  Again, I focus on results and my relationship with my direct boss (one step below C-level).