I have 20 years management experience, but recently switched to a new industry in a newly created leadership position within a small company. Four of the employees that I was brought in to supervise do not want to be supervised, do not feel they need my new position and are disgruntled. It is nearly a year and these individuals are still meeting and holding discussion behind closed doors, disregarding my direction, resisting my position, resisting new programs and displaying general hostility toward me. I have strived to generate collaboration, open discussion, and have generally been available, helpful and competent in my work. How long should I stick this out? It is rather hostile and I'm feeling a bit desperate. Leadership is supportive of me and I have been implementing most of the recommendations on this site, but the hostility continues. Should I move on? I have a lot of opportunity available to me including other job offers. I just don't like to give up on my commitment if there is something more I could be doing to make this work. Ideas?

TomW's picture
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You've documented all of ti right? Take it to HR and fire them. Tearing down the team is a good reason to get rid of someone.

maura's picture
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TomW has a good point.  If Management supports you but those directs don't, and nothing else is working, then maybe it's time to throw some role power their way.  But are you there yet?  I'm not sure.  

You say you've been following "most" of the recommendations on this site... which ones, and for how long?  Have you been doing One on Ones all year?  What is your part of that conversation like each week?  Have you instituted the feedback model, and are you doing it correctly?  How do they respond to affirming and adjusting feedback?  How about late stage Coaching?  Have you listened to the guidance in all of those podcasts, plus the "non-promoted, disgruntled direct" podcast?

Without knowing exactly which tactics you've tried, it's hard to say it's time to let these people go.  They at least need a shot across the bow.

GlennR's picture

Building on TOMW and Mara's advice, I would do one or the other. What I would not do is admit defeat and leave. If you feel you're in the right and you have the support of management, then stick to your guns.

Mark may have a different take on this, but I would be sure I was following MT practices (Mara) and in o3s ask each individual why they weren't getting with the new program. I would do this in a conversational manner with the intent to see things from their perspective. I would then analyze their responses and act accordingly.  If I had to go with TOMW's suggestion for any of them, I would first gain support of my supervisor and HR. Then proceed.

What I would not do is quit, unless management failed to provide necessary support. This is always difficult in a smaller company where relationships can be more personal even between upper managers and front line staff.

Regardless of how you act, if you are able to correct this situation, you will be a better manager for it.


AB_76's picture

 I agree with the other commenters, and wanted to add that I'm finding myself in a similar situation with a couple of my directs and skips.  Here is what I'm learning:  if I allow employees to disregard my direction with no accountability, my behavior tells them it's ok to continue.  Not only that, but it tells everyone else who is observing that they can do the same without consequences.

My recommendation is simple:  implement all elements of the MT Trinity, up to & including late stage coaching, if needed.  If these four are not willing or able to make the changes in THEIR behavior that allow them to accept your leadership and be part of the team, then work with HR to show them the door.  You're not doing them any favors by keeping them because YOU are there to stay.  If they can't get comfortable with that, they'll never be successful on your team and your team will never be as successful as you need it to be--a lose/lose proposition.

Also, among the four, is their a "ringleader"?  If so, I'd start there.  Once the other three start to see the leader of the pack being held accountable for behaviors, they may fall in line on their own.

Good luck & keep us posted!


naraa's picture
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 I haven't been in a situation like yours but i have been in a situation where i would like things to move a lot faster and they simply don't.  I have learned to adjust my pace to the flow a bit.  There is no point on demanding faster change only to give up in frustration....

It is hard to identify what is going on based on your post.  You have not been specific with regards to the behaviours people are engaging that your draw the conclusion of them being hostile. Are they hostile against you or are they just afraid of the change?

The podcast on dealing with facebook át. Work was a eye opener for me because the podcast tells how one should focus on the behaviour one wants, results, rather then the one we don't, facebook át. Work.  Perhaps you have a way around the issue by focus more on the behaviours you want, and ignore the ones you don't, of course to a limit.  You don't mention whether this people are being effective and productive? If by disregarding your directions you mean they are not getting the work they should get done done, then document it, hold them accountable, make sure they know they are producing bellow expectations and if then do not comply they will probably need to go.  But do be open to them perhaps being afraid of the change rather then anything else?  Are you sure they don't want to be supervised? If you thought they wanted to would that change the way you deal with them?  It should't, if it does, shift that thought and see how it goes.

I agree with the advice not to give up.  don't give up on the good people you are working for and with because of a few bad seeds, specially if you are the one in the position of power to change things.