I am co-manager of a team of approximately 150. Though I have a little trouble pinpointing my exact DISC type I'd say I'm basically a High I with traces of C. My co-manager is without a doubt a High D and beyond. If you read off the "Be Effective With DISC" sheet and multiplied all the bullet statements times ten, that would describe my co-manager.

He and I get along great. While there are clearly areas where both of us will never quite understand each other we tend to balance each other well and we both learn well from each other.

I am faced with a situation where many of our directs are approaching me about communication issues with the High D. Most of these are what would be expected and could pretty much be read directly off the DISC model sheets. Others view him as intimidating, insensitive, brusque, impatient, intolerant and most of all unapproachable.

Being unapproachable has frustrated him because he is being approached by management from above rather than his directs. This is making him angrier with his directs because they are not giving him the feedback directly.

I have been giving him on-and-off feedback about the situation but I feel a bit awkward using the same feedback model I would use with my directs.

Do you have any advice on how I could coach this manager to improve his level of patience and approachability without damaging our own professional relationship? Is the feedback model as effective laterally in this situation? Do I follow the "D in DISC" podcast advice?

My main concern is how I can tactfully, professionally and effectively transmit this feedback from peer to peer without being condescending or coming across as though I am telling him what to do (because I know he won't like that).

Thanks a lot for any help anyone can give me in this matter. :)

PierG's picture

Co-manager? Could you please give us some more hints about how this mechanism?

Boy Hubris's picture

Basically we're both managers of the same team. Basically the team is split into two parts but the overall effectiveness, budget, labor, etc. is shared as being one team.

Hopefully that is easier to understand. :)

PierG's picture

Tough one! I hope Mark and Mike could help us!
I personally would keep being open with my directs and try to do the same with your 'peer' manager.
And probaly would try to help your boss to find a different solution (maybe one manager and 2 'leaders' for the 2 groups?.

Boy Hubris's picture

Yeah, I think that a new structure wouldn't be entirely uncalled for. It's a tricky situation currently.

The biggest challenge for me is to exert leadership in this situation with someone who is not a direct of mine. People (particularly someone as High D as this individual) do not always respond well to that.

So far I'm finessing the situation and giving as much feedback as I can without trying to sound like I'm trying to be his boss. I just don't think he's hearing the feedback the same was as if I were his boss.

Thanks for your thoughts, PierG. :)

Len's picture

[size=12][/size]Wow, BH! I could have written your post! I am sort of a "co-manager," also. My actual boss works far away, and day-to-day operations are directed by his Deputy. I am sort of the Senior Director, with a status in relation to my counterparts of "first among equals." So, the Deputy and I share somewhat equal status. The Deputy is an EXTREME "D." So much so, in fact, I can't imagine that your co-manager being more "D" than mine!!! I'd love to see them meet.

Anyway, my "D" is a new arrival. He has made his presence felt by dismantling ongoing initiatives, reshaping things to suit his views (without attempting to understand why things are set up the way they are now). He does not make much effort to listen to the Directors, who are very senior and experienced leaders.

The situation recently reached the point that two of our top quality people resigned. A couple of my fellow Directors approached me and told me that they were at the end of their respective ropes and that they wanted me to approach the "D" in an effort to try to set him straight. Two hours ago, as I was contemplating the best way to do this, another Director (our most experienced) walked into my office and resigned. He refuses to speak to the "D" so I got the dubious honor of receiving the news.

The "D" is out of the office for a few days, in fact, so I will be dealing with this when he returns. My plan is to address the situation very directly and matter-of-factly, and to encourage him to recognize and respect the rights of our Directors to hold and express opinions. Of course, that sort of approach is expected in my organization's culture. Don't know about yours.

I'll let you know how it turns out...

Mark's picture
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This cast is in the queue for 1-2 weeks from now, promise!!!


Boy Hubris's picture


Sounds like a very similar situation for both of us (though I won't get into a "My D is More D Than Your D" debate). ;)

It sounds like in both our situations the High D is no really doing themselves any favors. In my situation my question may have to change from "How Do I Give Feedback to a Peer?" to "How do I properly manage through this transition for both sections of the team?"


I can't wait for this podcast. It seems like you always come up with a new cast on a subject JUST when I need it! Thanks! :)

lebushey's picture

Actually, I think the discussions and posts in this forum are the inspiration for many of the podcast episodes. That's part of the value of Manager Tools. It's responsive to its listeners!

Mark's picture
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It might seem that way, but it's not so. We have a list of casts we're working through.

On the other hand, a lot of the problems managers face are similar...


lebushey's picture

Either way, your podcast is very, very helpful. You provide an excellent service... and I recommend your podcast to everyone I know who might benefit. Thank you for all you do and for all you share. :wink: