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Submitted by mercuryblue on


I have a relatively new direct assigned to me who is the highest D I have ever come across. I can't catch even a touch of the other profiles. I am strong D and I, but compare to his D-ness, I might as well be S!

I have the Effective Relationship Series and have already read the "I'm an I, my direct is a D". I felt given this might be the best option - but I will have a look at the "I'm a D..." one too. I saw my Direct in every paragraph. I can see the upside; he is definitely a very driven doer who will get things done.

But he is ruffling feathers, including those of our team's best supporters, and including mine. He consistently steamrollers anyone who questions, challenges, pushes back or disagrees, including me. Every battle is the hill you have to die on, even extraordinarily small ones. While he brings an extraordinary skill set, there are areas that are quite new to him, and even in these areas he steamrolls people with many years experience. If I could once see him say (or act) to someone "I hadn't thought of that" or "You have s point" or " how can we build that in" or " how can we accommodate that" if would make such a difference!

Or ask, instead of demand. "I must...", "I have to...".

Personally, I am now at the point where I don't want to talk to him. Not good.

I have tried giving feedback to this high D, but I do not feel it is effective - because the high D is too busy telling me why I'm wrong. I can understand the appeal of just agreeing - the outcome is the same.

The feedback I have been given about him from others is remarkably consistent. I have also had comments from my team.

How do I help this extraordinarily focused Highest of High Ds to ease up? I really want him to work out!

timrutter's picture

How long have you been giving feedback for? Any change will not be overnight and some patience will be required with little wins.

You might want to try the How to Manage an Arrogant Producer podcast and work some or all of the advice into your plan:

My gut feeling is that if you have taken first steps to address this and are seeing no improvement, you will probably want to start documenting. Irrespective of how talented he is, if he's tearing the team down, he either changes or leaves sooner rather than later.


Andrew J Baer's picture

Your direct's greatest strength is their focus on results.  The greatest gift you can give him is to orient them on net results, which include , which include building relationships.    Some ideas:

1.    Always Give Intent and Endstate: make sure your direct knows, beyond any metric, what your final vision is.  As a part of this, include what your final vision is for any projects they’re working on.  Part of this should always include your team gaining the max results and ready to jump on the next opportunity…which implies you’re in good standing with everybody else.


It is my intent that iWIDGET launch meets the demand for weaving baskets underwater, boosting our share of the WIDGET market by 10% (boss’ goal).     

Key Tasks

·         Early and often coordination with ____

·         Budget analysis

·         Water pH

End State: iWIDGET is launched on time, receives a review of Awesome from WEAVER MAG, and our team is postured to quickly react with IT and marketing to any opportunities or bugs.

2.    Tie-In Relationships to Task Success

-Obtain email agreement from team Y that they’ll meet our requirement for batteries

-Get 4/6 supporters in upcoming decision meeting

3.    Give Examples from the Past

Sell relationships to him, just appeal to their sense of results.  God only knows how many examples MT's given where they wish they'd been more politically savy.  

katehorstman's picture
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Managing the arrogant producer is a great cast! Maybe you could also utilize coaching and systemic feedback? I have included the casts below. I might suggest that you employ the coaching on interpersonal relationships content to your advantage. It does sound like he is causing issues, but if you want to keep him, it might be wothwhile to keep at it. I’ve also included Feedback revisited. It includes what to do if your directs behavior isn’t changing after you have given feedback. Keep your head up! It can be hard, but were all here to help! We've said it before- management isn’t sexy or necessarily very glamorous. Sometimes what it takes is time and repetition. 





VPfreedude's picture

As much as I want to be an optimist I think you have to take serious action.

Sit him/her down, review the feedback. When he tried to tell you are wrong, be clear and direct in asking him to keep his thoughts to himself until you are finished. Then take your shot across the bow as the podcast says. If your behaviour interacting with me, the team etc doesn't improve by X time/date then I will have to terminate your employment. Stick to your guns and keep it about behaviour and professional.
He will be hurt and defensive, likely thinking he is always right and not understanding where you are coming from. Explain how his behaviour has damaged your working relationship and reiterate that you are serious.

The conversation sucks. I have done it before with reasonable results. The direct in my situation was shocked at the feedback after finally getting through to her and committed to trying to work with the team better. It worked out ok. Everyone appreciated her efforts and things improved until the day she resigned 6 months later.

Best of luck!

Stephen Robinson's picture

Mark has said in the past (paraphrasing): 2 things he comes down hard on - poor performance and destroying teams.

This direct is destroying your team and needs to change. Check out the 'shot across the bows feedback' podcast.

I recommend the following actions:

1. Feed back meeting informing them if their ineffective behaviour and the impact it's having. Do not let them speak. This is you stating facts, not a discussion.

2. Lay out coaching as per coaching model, explain consequences of not improving that cuts to the heart of a D - No promotion or career advancement without addressing this.

3. Teach them DISC and have them do a profile.

Good luck!