How long can I say, "I inherited the problem" and have an understanding ear from my boss and my peers?

I have been in my current position for almost 5 months.  The problems I inherited are mine, but usually my boss and I agree that it is not reflective of my skills/behaviors that my staff do certain things.  My peers point out problems their staff have to deal with as a result of my staff, but are sympathetic and present the issues with a helping attitude.  That won't continue forever.  I have a sense of urgency, but people and change take time.  

How much time do I have?

At what point in time will people start to say it is my fault for not fixing the issues?  I have culpability, when a problem is repeated a few times if I have not done something to fix it.  

I am assuming, though, my boss and peers will probably run out of patience after 6 or 12 months and start to lump all inherited issues into one and ask, "Why haven't you fiixed this yet."  Do I get 6 or 12 months before people start to blame me?  

I have 4 sections - two are led by good managers and have good performance.  Two are led by poor managers.  One of the poorly led teams has slightly substandard results and awful retention.  The other poorly led team has perfect retention and the worst results.  The majority of complaints/problems I receive are about my skips in the section with perfect retention.  

Ariashley's picture

You've been in the role long enough to identify that it's these two managers that see the problem. What about them is the problem? What are you doing about it?

I've just moved into a new role myself and  acquired a lot of high pressure deadlines with it. I'll probably get a little leeway if we're late on a few things, but none if I'm not communicating and doing my best to fix it and prioritize.

Are your Poor managers on a performance plan?  Are you coaching them to improve? Are you telling your boss what you're doing? Does your boss have other suggestions? 

There isn't a specific time limit, but if you're only saying you inherited the problem without making obvious moves or communicating how you are trying to fix it, they will lose patience soon.



uwavegeek's picture
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In all honesty.  If its an area that is impacting your responsibility, you are accountable from day one.  If you take that approach, you'll come at the problems with the right sense of urgency.  Think of it htis way, would you rather folks give you a pass as it is an inherrited problem, or comment on how much positive impact you've had in a short period of time.

Own it from the beginning and don't ask for a pass.

All the best,


bflynn's picture

My thought on this - you can do it until the day you start in the role.  From that moment on, the past causes are irrelevant and you now own them all.  Yes, you inherited the problems and now YOU own them.

Adjust your thinking about them and you'll be much closer to solutions.  Blaming someone else for it pushes off ownership and impairs your power to fix them.

So the answer is that it's over now.

timrutter's picture

I'm thinking that to negate risk, supposition and assumption, talking to your boss would be a very good start. How much time does he think you have?