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Hello!

Ok, little problem here. My current co-worker (former boss) and I run a team together of about 25 employees. When I was initially promoted to manager the reception was welcome, as we worked together well as Supervisor/Employee.

Now after about 8 months as peers, things are beginning to decline. I caught my partner talking down about me to a fellow manager regarding a simple mistake I made (which I fessed up to, and took responsibility for, then fixed). I confronted her about it, and she said she was "talking about something else". Not true, I heard what she said. Now, I realize that this can happen in a cut-throat world, however, she has done it in the past in front of both her and my employees. Not healthy.

I have asked her 2 times now to discuss these issues openly with me, and not anyone else, as I do look to her to as a more experienced, and may have a better point of view. The problem is that she continually degrades me in front of my staff and peers, is completely unprofessional, and has lied to our boss in the past essentially throwing me under the bus for a mistake SHE made. What do I do with this situation?

Oh, and by the way, I am absolutely destroying her team on productivity, employee satisfaction, morale etc. My boss has told me privately that I have done more in the last 8 months than any other manager in the last 8 years.

Help!

kklogic's picture

You did the right thing. You went to her directly. She's not playing. At some point, you need to move this up the chain of command - no matter how uncomfortable.

Best of luck to you. I'm sure it's an uncomfortable and unwelcome situation. If I had to take a guess, I'd say she was threatened by what you've accomplished. Take that as the twisted compliment that it is :)

jhack's picture
MTJunkie808's picture

Thanks for the replies.

-Regarding the twisted compliment:

This is EXACTLY how I am taking it. When she acts like this, I redirect my focus on totally outperforming her. So far, it's worked. Her actions towards me fuel my desire to outperform her in all areas.

All I care about is making sure my directs as successful as possible, which of course makes me successful. Part of me wants to let a majority of this roll off, but to be honest, there have been many times where I have had to step away and collect myself so I can keep my temper. I keep telling myself she is doing a really good job of making herself look bad!

Like Napoleon said, "Never interrupt an enemy when they are making a mistake".

I will check out the peer feedback show.

Thanks!

MsSunshine's picture

BLUF: Try to work this out yourself or ask your boss to coach you on it.

I just coached two directs who were not getting along - and then was coached by my coach on subtle changes to how I managed this. So, I have a few thoughts.

First, try to work this out yourself first. Your boss probably does know it's going on. You will get more respect in trying to solve your own problems. As a boss, I expect my directs to work together in a professional manner - you don't have to be best friends. Get input from other objective peers who could help you see if there is something causing the problem. I often ask a person "do you think that 'person A' came to work today trying to get you" or "do you really think they have a devil's horns and a tail". I'm trying to inject some humor to get them to think about other possibilities than the other person is out to get them. There are some truly evil people out there but often there is another answer to why this is happening. A great book I found for thinking about this is "Crucial Conversations". I won't go through the whole book but think about what you really want as an outcome, making it safe for honest discussion, your stories & other stories & facts, ...

Secondly, if you go to your boss for resolution, ask your boss to help/coach you on handling the situation. State that you are having problems working with the person and you need their coaching. This shows that you are taking responsibility for your relationship with your peers. Only state specific actions the person did. Do not say that the other person is talking about you. How can you prove it. Your boss isn't likely to poll the team to ask about this. You are right in your statement that you need to just let this roll off your back. As a boss, I refuse to be put in the middle. I coach both directs on how to resolve their confrontation.

Finally, if you go to your boss, what do you really want them to do? Do you want them to fire the person? Seriously think about your motives. Your boss is going to. What is best for the company?

These may sound cold, but I'm trying to coach my directs to handle problems themselves. There are always people who you won't naturally interact with well. Learn how to handle them and you're a step ahead. Yes, the other could be a totally evil pathological lier who is out for your job. But could there be another answer?

WillDuke's picture

[quote]Oh, and by the way, I am absolutely destroying her team on productivity, employee satisfaction, morale etc. My boss has told me privately that I have done more in the last 8 months than any other manager in the last 8 years. [/quote]
That's not a "by the way." That's the whole thing. You are the top performer. Your boss knows it. Even better, you know your boss knows it. You have NOTHING to gain by playing her game. All it would do is drag you into the mud. Right now, you have no mud on you. Keep it that way. Be the "Shining Knight."

Come someplace like this and vent the steam. At work keep doing what you're doing and keep your team performing. In a while she'll be working for you directly. Her game will probably change then. :)