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Submitted by Fred01 on


Hello everyone,
I need some advice on the following situation: one of my directs is about to retire (next year) and one of her directs (a team of 4) sees himself as the natural successor. He's highly motivated and the most senior in the department. He is productive. Weak points: he constantly puts himself forward, doesn't listen much, never questions himself, wants to boss and to control the schedule ; so much so that the rest of the team doesn't want him as manager and they've already made it known that they'll be leaving the team. Of course, he doesn't even realize it. When remarks are made to him, he takes them personally, as if the current manager were specifically trying to harm him. The current manager is disengaging because she's retiring and... it's not really her problem anymore. there has been mistakes in dealing with his behavior, sure.

I' m planning on opening a position. With a job description a bit different from the current one to accompany growth and adjust to the market and new needs. there would be another in-house candidate for this role.

What can be done to maintain a team without too much drama?

jrb3's picture
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... so do what you can to improve the situation -- without drama -- from your side.  Getting a more-suitable manager with those updated marching-orders seems to me very appropriate.  That knocks on to clear potential changes in the team too.  (Is this a case of [DISC model] high-D clashing with a non-D sub-culture? Or a relatively young professional needing to mature?)

On what conditions will your outgoing direct's other directs stay on?  Will they stay if the self-appointed successor leaves, or have they already crossed the bridge headed out of the organization?  Will they stay with him still as a peer, whether on that team or not?  That should help you figure out whether he moves, stays, or goes.

Hmm.  Can you have the outgoing manager involve him in informal "you're not considered ready yet, here's what's seen as blocking your progress" conversations?  This should have already been formal, as part of Manager Tools coaching within one-on-one time, but hey, sometimes salvage work is rough-and-ready.

LEmerson's picture

It sounds like you have a person nobody likes who is controlling things and a staff that's threatening to leave. I don't see any way to navigate this situation without drama. In fact the desire to avoid drama could have helped lead to this situation. I get the impression this person is a big negative in terms of the workplace. It's going to take a direct assertive approach. I don't see any way to finesse this.


j3snyder's picture
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You are the hiring manager in this situation. If you intend to hire this unliked direct, you have some time to coach him into appriopriate behavior before your current direct leaves. Or, you have the opportunity to hire based on objective criteria (rather than just seniority) that may or may not make this person the best fit. Either way, you are the hiring manger. Own the process :).

PhilipR's picture

> When remarks are made to him, he takes them personally, as if the current manager were specifically trying to harm him.

Minor but perhaps important point: Are said "remarks" feedback (i.e. within the MT model) or some sort of vague observation? He might take valid feedback personally of course -- plenty of casts for that -- but in any event you (if his direct supervisor has checked out) should be crystal clear and persistent about the impact of his behaviors. Seems like this could progress to systemic feedback if he doesn't want to change, no?

Questions for the forum (since I am an IC just spitballing here): 

  1. In light of the direct mgr's retirement, how much does "Don't do skip-level 1:1s" or other guidance about not undermining the intermediate manager still apply?
  2. Is it appropriate for OP to say something clear but generic, e.g., "If you do not change these behaviors it will limit your career development?"