Hi everyone!

Long time lurker but making my first post. I would love if anyone can offer some advice and even point out a few helpful podcasts.


I recently joined as a manager and have a great team. One of the senior developers is regarded as the “go to person” for a lot because she is extremely familiar with the team and code base for our social media application.

She is frequently on calls that I am on, and I find myself in situations where this person speaks with authority on subjects that can occasionally weave into the managerial (I.e. I feel the team should work on X, or we need to do Y). These comments are made respectfully and she is deferential to me if I interject, but I’m too new to interject with better ideas. I find myself agreeing with what is said.

The thing is, she isn’t wrong. Her experience and comments make sense. I feel like something is inherently wrong about me remaining mostly silent on the calls while my direct report speaks to my boss and peers this way. The team goes to her with most questions because she has the answers. The problem is since I am new I don’t have enough knowledge yet to fully weigh in on these topics.

My thought is this is a valuable person I should leverage, and not try to fight her instead to use her to full potential and get recommendations, but I’m concerned that if I proceed in the wrong way, I can be made to look ineffectual or maybe even unneeded?

How should I work with a person like this.

Thanks! Looking forward to some suggestions.


mrreliable's picture

I believe your solution lies in your heading, "Best Approach to Succeed." In my opinion, a manager's most important job is doing whatever they can to help their directs be as successful as possible. I'd suggest approaching it from a standpoint of helping your direct use their knowledge and talent to increase their success. The more successful they are, the more successful you are.

It sounds like this person is very knowlegeable, respectful of your role, good repuation among co-workers, good ideas, etc. Try not to let any defensiveness show. Look at this person as a great asset to help you succeed in your role. Since this person has star quality, let them shine bright. Help other directs achieve the status. You won't be looked upon as someone who isn't valuable. You'll be looked upon as the person they want in charge.

manager758's picture

Thank you this is great and makes a lot of sense. I think the defensiveness part is important for me to focus in on. 


Thank you!

VladyslavAfrin's picture

Very interesting. I will follow your topic.