I need some advice.

I was hired by a large Fortune 500 company to act as the Technical Lead for a small team of people(2). I was tasked with creating projects that would benefit the corporation, etc.

The problem I'm running into is that I have been given no direct reponsibility for these two people on the team. What this means is, I am having the hardest time even asking them for basic things such "what are you task lists, what are you doing, etc." This makes it very hard for me to delegate tasks, properly manage projects, and/or make these two people accountable for tasks that I ask them to complete.

Everyone reports to a direct manager but the direct manager is very hands-off and doesn't have anything to do with us. One issue I'm running into is the team members are loyal to the established line of control and always ask me "have you passed this task request by the direct manager?" or "why are you asking us for our tasks lists? You are not our manager?"

All of this is very inefficient and doesn't bode well for creating effective free-flowing projects.

What do I do?

jwyckoff's picture

Have you brought any of this to your boss yet? What does your boss think of your progress to date?

clembm's picture

I have a meeting with him on Monday to discuss something else, but I am going to bring this up since some of the items I'm discussing on Monday are segways into the management discussion.

Btw everyone..I'm a HIGH D. :-)

regas14's picture
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It struck me in your original post and then when you mentioned that you are a High D I felt compelled to offer my insight.

As a High D, I often find myself wondering, "Why don't they get it?" As soon as something makes sense to me I take action. I require no further motivation than that. Other people do not act so quickly.

People generally do what makes sense to them. If they are not doing what you'd like them to, it's because it doesn't make sense to them. I understand that your position creates ambiguous authority in the eyes of some, but persuasion and motivation can overcome this. Put yourself in their shoes (and personality type for that matter) and ask "Why should they do this?"

Are the projects likely to result in high visibility success brining recognition, respect, esteem, praise, promotion, bonus, salary increases, etc?

Will working on the project provide an interesting opportunity to learn, grow, develop?

Have you made the kind of case that a High I, High S or High C could support or have you let the tendency for quick action of a High D to get in the way of selling them on what the org needs?

Just my thoughts.

wendii's picture
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Going back to basics: do they understand what you role is, what you have been tasked to achieve and what their role in that is?

Then around specific tasks, do they understand what they're doing for you and what you need in terms of reporting. Do they have any better ideas for achieiving the same thing?

If you can't, and don't have the authority to, make them do what you want them to, then I think you have to give them enough information and inspiration to want to.

Does that help?


tlhausmann's picture
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Although it was not immediately clear when you started the thread Clem, I am assuming you are new in the position. I had a similar role for a number for a number of years...think of the role as an internal solutions "catalyst."

Solid communication with my boss lead to his backing of my ideas and initiatives. Over time, the others took the cue that just about any project I requested, encouraged, or proposed would have the boss' backing.

You also said you are a technical lead which suggests you have technical training in the problem domain. I have discovered this is often important for high C directs.

In short, good communication with your boss and time will lead to a successful experience in your post. Good luck.


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Well, you're not their boss.

Their boss is the direct manager. Regardless of how hands off he is.

I wouldn't worry so much just yet what their task lists are. I would think about persuading them to help you on a task, and show them the value to the firm and hopefully to them as well.

This is a HUGE opportunity for you. This experience is far more valuable than having them report to'll have to treat them like volunteers, and won't be able to rely on your role power to get them to comply. Compliance is the least engaged of the ways folks offer their expertise to others.