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Old 04-01-2019, 06:41 AM
 
218 posts, read 390,091 times
Reputation: 285

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I'm a new supervisor to a company (4 months) with five direct reports. Previous to this position I was a supervisor for 6 years at another company. One of my current employees who is the senior lead in our unit has been giving me a lot of resistance, slight attitude, and sometimes undermining my authority. In the last several weeks, I have learned that there was some animosity within the group about the job being giving to me and not another long term employee, who was also a senior lead, who quit one month after I was hired. I am an outsider coming in to an organization, where most people have been here 10+ years, and was unaware of any of this. When I ask this employee a question, as I'm trying to learn, or ask her to do something, she gives me attitude and constantly tells me she is busy. She gets flustered very easily and lacks communication skills. I feel like I'm walking on egg shells with her. For instance, one day I went to her and said I was interested in learning one of their new procedures (hands on), and she told me that I was not needed to do that, and handed me a CD to take in my office. I did speak to the employee in my office after that and she accused me of micromanaging. Two of my other employees have concerns about this employee as well. I had a chance to speak with the previous supervisor who was in my position for 20 years, and she did confirm my thoughts about this employee. I have also spoken to my boss and I feel like she does not want to ruffle any feathers, as she told me she just wants everyone to be happy and told me to focus on other things for now. So now all I have done is document the instances in writing. At my previous job as a supervisor, I disciplined employees with attitudes and this type of behavior early on without hesitation. But it backfired because I was told that I was being too harsh, or accused of yelling, being loud, rude, disrespectful to them, etc... so I had to change my way of doing things. I'm not sure how to approach this situation. It seems like she has been this way for a while and no one in authority has done anything about it. For those is supervisory positions or previous management experience, would like to know your thoughts. Thanks!
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Old 04-01-2019, 07:17 AM
 
18,849 posts, read 7,328,222 times
Reputation: 8064
Quote:
Originally Posted by rere900 View Post

I have also spoken to my boss and I feel like she does not want to ruffle any feathers, as she told me she just wants everyone to be happy and told me to focus on other things for now.

At my previous job as a supervisor, I disciplined employees with attitudes and this type of behavior early on without hesitation. But it backfired because I was told that I was being too harsh, or accused of yelling, being loud, rude, disrespectful to them, etc... so I had to change my way of doing things.
What is the question? Seriously.

You view the lead as being insubordinate, yet you are looking for folks to tell you its ok if you are insubordinate to your boss (see red underlined passage you wrote).

Obviously, you failed to learn from your past mistakes. (see blue underlined passage you wrote).

Your answer is simple: Do as your boss wants you to do, just as you hope the lead does with you. To not follow your boss' instruction, is to both repeat past mistakes, and send the message insubordination is fully acceptable. In other words, stop repeating your past mistakes, so you will not be writing from your next job "Twice, it backfired". Learn from past mistakes.

Last edited by BobNJ1960; 04-01-2019 at 07:36 AM..
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Old 04-01-2019, 07:41 AM
 
4,069 posts, read 5,464,316 times
Reputation: 4920
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobNJ1960 View Post
What is the question? Seriously.

You view the lead as being insubordinate, yet you are looking for folks to tell you its ok if you are insubordinate to your boss (see red underlined passage you wrote).

Obviously, you failed to learn from your past mistakes. (see blue underlined passage you wrote).

Your answer is simple: Do as you boss wants you to do, just as you hope the lead does with you. To not follow your boss' instruction, is to both repeat past mistakes, and send the message insubordination is fully acceptable. In other words, stop repeating your past mistakes, so you will not be writing from your next job "Twice, it backfired". Learn from past mistakes.
OP is a in a damned if you do and damned if you don't position.

At my previous employer, my former manager did not write up employees. The manager's boss did not like writing up employees either. I was carrying the load for another employee. I moved on to a new project.

The manager and boss were chewed out by the EVP, after making no progress for 6 months. They couldn't get the guy follow directions. The EVP was about to fire my old manager and head a deadline of a month to get the project going. He begged for me to come back. I came back and worked 80+hours a week to get a viable product for the EVP.

At the end of the month, my old manager and VP were still there. The EVP transferred me and the insubordinate employee to a new manager and VP. The EVP considered them too incompetent to keep us.

I can see this end up the same way with OP eventually being fired for a stalled project, due to insubordination. As an outsider, the OP doesn't have the relationships with executive management to survive failed projects as a new leader. The OP is likely to be fired, if any enforcement action is handed down against the wishes of the OP's boss.

If it were me, I would keep interviewing with any other potential prospects and move on.
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Old 04-01-2019, 07:49 AM
 
17,252 posts, read 10,176,823 times
Reputation: 28768
I take it as the OP not wanting to repeat past mistakes of being too aggressive with an insubordinate employee (yelling, being rude, etc.).

The OP is right in wanting to deal with this as soon as possible. You just have to get to the root of the issue, as professional as possible without pointing fingers or losing temper. That is the challenge here. I'm hoping the OP took the opportunity to actually spend time with each underling and get to know them better on both a personal and professional level.

How to Manage an Employee Who Doesn't Respect You

my new staff resents me — what do I do?
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:08 AM
 
218 posts, read 390,091 times
Reputation: 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobNJ1960 View Post
What is the question? Seriously.

You view the lead as being insubordinate, yet you are looking for folks to tell you its ok if you are insubordinate to your boss (see red underlined passage you wrote).

Obviously, you failed to learn from your past mistakes. (see blue underlined passage you wrote).

Your answer is simple: Do as your boss wants you to do, just as you hope the lead does with you. To not follow your boss' instruction, is to both repeat past mistakes, and send the message insubordination is fully acceptable. In other words, stop repeating your past mistakes, so you will not be writing from your next job "Twice, it backfired". Learn from past mistakes.
So, basically your saying continue to let the employee act in a manner that is unprofessional, and undermine my authority? Okay. As a new supervisor coming in I was asking for ways to handle the situation that could be effective for everyone.
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:29 AM
 
218 posts, read 390,091 times
Reputation: 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburban_Guy View Post
I take it as the OP not wanting to repeat past mistakes of being too aggressive with an insubordinate employee (yelling, being rude, etc.).

The OP is right in wanting to deal with this as soon as possible. You just have to get to the root of the issue, as professional as possible without pointing fingers or losing temper. That is the challenge here. I'm hoping the OP took the opportunity to actually spend time with each underling and get to know them better on both a personal and professional level.

How to Manage an Employee Who Doesn't Respect You

my new staff resents me — what do I do?
Thanks for those links!
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:32 AM
 
18,849 posts, read 7,328,222 times
Reputation: 8064
Quote:
Originally Posted by rere900 View Post
So, basically your saying continue to let the employee act in a manner that is unprofessional, and undermine my authority? Okay. As a new supervisor coming in I was asking for ways to handle the situation that could be effective for everyone.
I am saying do as your boss indicated he/she wants you to do.

Your use of the word "authority" indicates to me power is what matters to you, not being effective.
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:56 AM
 
2,053 posts, read 595,092 times
Reputation: 2905
Quote:
Originally Posted by rere900 View Post
I have also spoken to my boss and I feel like she does not want to ruffle any feathers, as she told me she just wants everyone to be happy and told me to focus on other things for now.
Unfortunately this RIGHT HERE is a team killer. Your boss sucks and she's an idiot. Despite the fact previous supervisor and colleagues say the same thing, she doesn't want to "ruffle any feathers" BULL!!!!!

I hate to say it but this alone here tells me the situation WILL NOT CHANGE. If your manager doesn't care nothing will happen to the colicky baby. It sucks but you have to move on. Long term this isn't going to work. Try to find another team, accept the status quo and ignore the problem child (but document to ensure HR is aware in case she files a complaint) and look for another job or team internally or externally in the meanwhile.

WE ARE ALL ADULTS HERE.... (Presumably)

Don't listen to other posters on trying to work this situation out any longer. She is a problem child and they've put up with her for this long and effectively ENABLE her petty outbursts and behaviors. There's nothing you the new guy can do to change this. BAIL as soon as you can. Sorry but it's not workable. You are not a psychologist or organization therapist! Come to terms with this and the sooner you do the better you will feel.
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Old 04-01-2019, 09:03 AM
 
2,053 posts, read 595,092 times
Reputation: 2905
Quote:
Originally Posted by move4ward View Post
OP is a in a damned if you do and damned if you don't position.

I can see this end up the same way with OP eventually being fired for a stalled project, due to insubordination. As an outsider, the OP doesn't have the relationships with executive management to survive failed projects as a new leader. The OP is likely to be fired, if any enforcement action is handed down against the wishes of the OP's boss.

If it were me, I would keep interviewing with any other potential prospects and move on.
This is a key concern for me right now which is why I'm ensuring to get as much face time with executive leadership as possible. We have a number of stalled projects at the moment and luckily I have tenure and past accomplishments on my track record here.

The stalled projects are due to other groups pushing back at a higher level as well as us being deprioritized in the queue. OP get in CYA mode (Cover your A**) immediately. Document, set up meetings and get things in e-mail so it's retrievable. It's unfortunately but 15-20% of any corporate job is CYA. And many companies are perfectly fine with this despite it adding nothing to the bottom line, reduces productivity and output.

The challenge is this is happening almost everywhere now in F500s and below as well. The last 3 jobs I looked into over the past couple of years would be the same CYA crap for the same pay. So I'm staying where I am so at least here I have some history and political backing. As the new guy you are always in a precarious situation and very easy to get caught upstream suddenly lacking a paddle and SOL.
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Old 04-01-2019, 09:37 AM
 
1,912 posts, read 2,958,980 times
Reputation: 2468
Quote:
Originally Posted by rere900 View Post
I'm a new supervisor to a company (4 months) with five direct reports. Previous to this position I was a supervisor for 6 years at another company. One of my current employees who is the senior lead in our unit has been giving me a lot of resistance, slight attitude, and sometimes undermining my authority. In the last several weeks, I have learned that there was some animosity within the group about the job being giving to me and not another long term employee, who was also a senior lead, who quit one month after I was hired. I am an outsider coming in to an organization, where most people have been here 10+ years, and was unaware of any of this. When I ask this employee a question, as I'm trying to learn, or ask her to do something, she gives me attitude and constantly tells me she is busy. She gets flustered very easily and lacks communication skills. I feel like I'm walking on egg shells with her. For instance, one day I went to her and said I was interested in learning one of their new procedures (hands on), and she told me that I was not needed to do that, and handed me a CD to take in my office. I did speak to the employee in my office after that and she accused me of micromanaging. Two of my other employees have concerns about this employee as well. I had a chance to speak with the previous supervisor who was in my position for 20 years, and she did confirm my thoughts about this employee. I have also spoken to my boss and I feel like she does not want to ruffle any feathers, as she told me she just wants everyone to be happy and told me to focus on other things for now. So now all I have done is document the instances in writing. At my previous job as a supervisor, I disciplined employees with attitudes and this type of behavior early on without hesitation. But it backfired because I was told that I was being too harsh, or accused of yelling, being loud, rude, disrespectful to them, etc... so I had to change my way of doing things. I'm not sure how to approach this situation. It seems like she has been this way for a while and no one in authority has done anything about it. For those is supervisory positions or previous management experience, would like to know your thoughts. Thanks!
I think your soft and don't deserve to be in a supervisory position. If you don't make an example out of this employee and show that you are the leader, she is going to make an example out of you. I guarantee it.

If you can't "ruffle feathers' in a position of superiority over others, why bother to have that position in the first place?

Toughen up and be a boss, or relinquish the duties to someone who can handle them. You sound weak, hesitant and indecisive, which are not Supervisory qualities that I would tolerate in my business.
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