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Submitted by itilimp on


Hi Mark & Mike,

I suspect that this topic is already on your 400+ podcast discussion list. I read a post on another forum that I thought MT would have an answer for. The question:

If you come into an organisation as a new manager, but the post you are filling has been vacated by someone who has moved up/sideways in the same organisation and not to another organisation, what do you do if they just won't let go of the old reins? How do you get them to delegate and hand things over properly? How do you clarify the new roles and responsibilities (ideally without upsetting them in the process)?

Mark's picture
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[Anyone who holds onto the old reins too long is likely to get upset no matter how polite you are about it, so just keep in mind that how they feel is their fault.]

Go talk to them! I can't understand how it is that an old boss would have to "delegate" anything to you, particularly i they've moved laterally.

If they're doing something you see ( and anyone else would see as well, to include projects that were ongoing that they "want to see through til the end), simply say, for each such instance:

"Bob, thanks for what you've done thus far. This is my responsibility now, so I'll be taking over. I've talked to the team, and to the key stakeholders. I'm going to be on all the distros, and will be attending the meetings and speaking for (whatever). I know you're busy with other stuff, and I'm happy to take this off your plate. Whatever you've got, if you want to hand over paperwork, or have a transitiion meeting, I'd love that."

Note I didn't say "I think", or "I'd like". I said "I will". Note that I've already talked to the team and project members.

For those who would say this might get you embarrassed when the other person says, "but the boss said I could hold onto this one," yes, it's possible. But it's NOT a good idea AT ALL to talk to the boss first. THAT sounds like whining. If you hear that, go to the boss for verification (and argue your case if need be), and then let it go... and ask the boss what ELSE she allowed (maybe there's more than one mistake to be discussed).

It's a privilege...


itilimp's picture
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Hi Mark,

Thanks for that. The key thing as you say is that it is no longer their responsibility, it is that of the new manager so delegation doesn't come into it. I'll see if I can get the manager concerned to join manager tools :)