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Submitted by srobert001 on



I accepted a new role as Sr Manager and enherited a team of 9 directs of which 1 is a supervisor that theoretically looks over 6 technicians. I am a couple of weeks in assessing and learning about my team through O3, staff meetings and skip level meeting.

To make a long story short, one of my directs, the supervisor does not have the trust or respect of his team. I learned that the supervisor expectations are actually fullfilled by one of his directs and an engineer that is my direct... but on paper he is still responsible for his team and everything that comes with evaluating, feedback, coaching... In fact he cannot do his work because he is disconnected from his whole team and they do not let him be the supervisor. (its been going on for 2 years)

I would like to bounce ideas on how to deal with my supervisor.  I plan on learning about the team, what their tasks are, what their perceived role is in the organization and eventually set the expectations and goals for each role in my team.

Then I will be able to measure if my supervisor ability to manage or his team's ability to be managed...

I wonder if there are some lessons learned from the community that you could share if you have been in a similar situation.






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I haven't been in this situation, but since no one else has chimed in I'll offer what I can.  Take it with a grain of salt.  I once worked as a consultant turning around troubled software start-ups, so I have been responsible for finding and fixing these sorts of disconnects. However, as I was an outsider with no permanent role in the company, it was probably a very different experience from owning the team.

Some time has passed since you posted.  How long have you managed the team at this point, and what else have you learned or changed since your post?

I'm especially interested in what your supervisor (the person you report to) has said. While you are the boots on the ground, so to speak, on this decision-making, your supervisor should help you understand what tools are at your disposal, and whether the overall situation in your organization calls for a fast turnaround of this team or a more gentle realignment.

Two things in your post concern me. Both seem to ask whether it could be the directs' fault that their manager isn't managing them:

  • "he cannot do his work because [...] they do not let him be the supervisor."
  • "Then I will be able to measure if my supervisor ability to manage or his team's ability to be managed"

Perhaps it's my own naivete, but I don't get how that's possible. Is he setting o3s and no one shows up?  I've seen competent, ethical managers whose best attempts are disrupted by their own chain of command, but I'm having trouble picturing how directs could simply opt out of being managed by their manager.

I hope you've managed to make some headway, and I look forward to bouncing ideas around if it will help.