Im I looking for some tips on working with an experienced new direct who isn't quite ready to give up de facto control.

 I'm an experienced manager (even attended the first Manager Tools conference years ago) and a long time MT listener.  I also have over 15 years of experience in my field.  I recently left my former company after more than a decade and am now in a manager role in a different organization.

The team I took over did not have a manager for the past year.  Instead, they were loosely organized by my peers or my manager, none of which could really dedicate the time to the team that it needed.

One direct in particular stepped up and took the opportunity to become a respected and effective influencer.  But now, this person is having a hard time accepting any ideas or changes I come up with and has stated she feels she should be consulted with on every decision.  

I am actually being extra cautious now to roll out big changes... At least nothing I would imagine could be seen as big.  I have only been in this org 5 weeks now.  But I have been given a clear mandate to make this team more productive fast and am clearly being held accountable.  I respect this direct's experience and as I have been ramping up, often DO consult her and the others.  But at some point, I need to be able to have this team working with me, not against me.

Today, after a carefully crafted email (probably my first mistake) describing a slight process tweak, the goals for it, and acknowledging it was an experiment, I had this person in my office nearly in tears within minutes.  I would really appreciate any tips from the community on how to proceed effectively here.  Happy to answer any questions to clarify or backfill anything above.




JoeFuture's picture

 Thanks.  Through more chats today, I think I've realized she's feeling burned by several specific instances over the past few years but seems to be letting those resonate and getting stuck rather than seeing her own successes.  As a result, she is having a hard time letting go of control she had when the team had relatively little oversight.  

My my approach will be to try to get her to see me as an advocate and partner while at the same time setting clear expectations.  If she comes along for the ride, great.  But if she doesn't, then despite her past successes and domain expertise, it sounds like I have clear sponsorship from my management chain to do the right thing for the org.

Obviously, I am also working to build a strong relationship with her too.

In blunt terms, coach her with "Positive Intelligence" and "Who Moved My Cheese?" but keep "The No Asshole Rule" in my back pocket.

flexiblefine's picture

If not exactly "for that," at least potentially helpful:

How to Manage a Disgruntled Non-Promoted Direct - Part 1Part 2Part 3.

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