I am a C person: Naturally introverted, often feeling insecure.

I hired a dominant D person: Secure of himself and achieved a lot within a very short time span. On a technical level he's way ahead of me. I'm very happy with him, the only issue I have is his dominance. This is what happened today:

I told the team a thing that I'm starting to program. Naturally this would have been their task but I needed to get it done to have more data for an upcoming decision and didn't want them to pause their current projects.

That's when he told me that this was actually not my job to program such things. This was in the room and loud enough that half a dozen people heard it. I didn't confront him but said that I liked doing that and that I just need the data now.

It just felt like he is the boss and telling me what to do when this is in fact the other way round.

I will give him feedback of course. I guess it was not his intention to play boss.

Problem is that the dynamic is not likely to change as he is a secure D and me an insecure C. It makes me feel like he'd be more suited to be my boss.

Do you have any suggestions what to do and what not to do?

jrb3's picture
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My first thought on this was a flash-back to a similar situation in the early part of my career, with a peer.  For me, it was a realization that "introverted" does not force "insecure", and I needed to address whatever it was that made me feel I was insecure.

As a separate issue, depending on the structure of your position, and how many directs you have, he might well be right.  Worse, more right than you might want to admit -- especially if this is your first manager job and you're still not fully settled in the role.  Four directs seems to me to be the tipping point between technical and non-technical as primary responsibility.  After the fourth, "non-technical" definitely needs to crowd out "technical".


Best expressed in Tom DeMarco's essay "Standing Naked in the Snow", in his collection "Why Does Software Cost So Much?" from the mid-1990's:

"Management is a set of catalytic activities that enable people to work productively and happily.  Like a catalyst in chemistry, the manager's contribution is not itself transformed into product, but it is entirely necessary for the transformation of others' efforts into product." [emphasis as per original]

I knew I'd learned this lesson when I took the data I needed and threw away the code which produced it, knowing I or someone would have to write it again for use in production software.  (I did write it again, but better, quicker, and with friends.)  Perhaps you'll do the same.

-- Joseph (DiSC 4247)

beiko's picture

Thanks Joseph. He has a valid point indeed. His colleague expressed the same - although without playing boss.

The point is more that his bossy attitude does not help him to bring his point across. My initial reaction is "he's not my boss, he can't tell me what I need to do, I now do it anyway just to show everyone who's the boss here"

Well, maybe it's done with a set of feedbacks and then it's done.