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Hi guys, I don't know how to navigate this very delicate situation.  Would like some input.  My boss is good with me, my staff is good with me. All can be improved, but I need help with a stakeholder.

I'm struggling with my biggest stakeholder.  So during a re-org, part of her team was given to me.  To my staff of that team, she has now moved from being a reporting manager to being a stakeholder.  

My interactions with her are decent, but she still likes to boss around her ex staff without going thru me.  I'm not too annoyed with this, but sometimes my staff is in a pickle because what she wants, and what I want is different.  Doing things her way would help her side, but would kill their KPIs.  The issue is also, some of their KPIs are MY KPIs also to my boss.  

My boss likes her a lot, and is probably his favourite person in the team, so I am very afraid of going to my boss and telling him that there is an issue here with her involved.

I've tried to settle it myself with her, but she has a stance that doing it her way would help her KPIs and that's what important.  

I'm thinking I should come clean to my boss and say, I want to say to him I understand where she is coming from, let's change my KPIs to accomdate her initiatives, because there's no other choice.  

I feel that's the most amicable solution I can think off.  Trying to balance my team, my goals, my stakeholders goals.  Thoughts?  I'd like to get moe opinions on my plan.

pucciot's picture

Here are my recommendations.

I don't reccomend going to your Boss - yet.

Your Boss approved the Re-Org for a reason (you may just not know it)

Let this Stakerholder (former Boss) go to your Boss if she becomes disatisfied.

The problem is not with your Stakeholder, the former Boss.  You cannot control her.  You can only let her know how her behavior negatively affects your team.  And leave it at that.

The problem is that your new staff members are not exactly sure how to act and react in this situation.
This is something you can control.

1 - Try to use the Peer Feedback model with this Stakeholder -- Who is _not_ your Direct but was the former supervisor for your new staff.   Keep it positive.  Let her know that you want to help her, and you need to build your staff into your team.
-- "When you directly try to manage my staff members without my input, it undermines my position and make my team less effective overall."

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Listen : https://www.manager-tools.com/2006/10/the-peer-feedback-model

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2 - You can ask your new Directs to

A - Report to you every time they interact directly with their old boss
B - Let their old Boss know that they cannot do what she is asking of them until you approve of it first.
This will appear as micromanaging at first.  But, it is the only way to break this bad habit.
Eventually you will be able to lighten up.
You may be surprised that some of them are relieved to get your guidance and support about weaning off of this former boss’ requests.

Good Luck

TJPuccio

Nevergiveup's picture

Thank you TJPuccio! This is awesome feedback. Point 1 I can definitely do. Point 2 is a bit tricky though. Because even if I make them go thru me, this is my biggest stakeholder. It is very complex for me to say don't do what she asked. Also politically damaging to me. At what point do you suggest I get my boss involved? When point 1 does not work?

pucciot's picture

Nevergiveup :

I am sorry that I don’t know what KPI’s are.
And Of course I am unaware of your particular organizational nuances and politics.
So, yes, tread carefully.  Free advice is worth what you pay for it.

Question:  Do you have other stakeholders that give direct instructions to your Directs ?  How do they do it ?  Does anyone else get to skip the line ?

I suggest --

Point 2 :  Your Directs are not to say that they won't do it.  They are supposed to say :
A)That they are happy to do it
and
B) That they have been asked to run everything by you first, because you are their supervisor now and you need to know what is going on and might have a perspective on the issue they hadn't thought of.

This delays things and adds friction to the whole process.  Hopefully, your Stakeholder will learn that it is faster and easier to go to you and through you first.

-- Why add friction ??  Because, it is _not_ adding friction.

The friction is already there.  You are already feeling the friction on your back-end.  What you are doing by making this request is adding the friction to front-end instead, where your stakeholder feels it more, instead of you.

Eventually, your stakeholder will get the message that there is a new process chain of workflow she should not skip.
OR
She will go to your Boss and complain.  At which time you will see what kind of support you get from your Boss.
I suspect (maybe I am wrong) that your boss will stick up for you, if he was supportive of the original change in Org Structure.

New Point 3
When should you Go to your Boss ?
Do you have One on One time with your Boss or weekly reporting ?
I would suggest that you just merely let your Boss know that you feel a little separated from your team members and their processes and have requested that they each report to you any new process or workflow changes before they implement them.
If he says that is micromanaging - tell it is for only a limited time.
Then wait.  Wait to see if there are complaints from your Stakeholder.

There may be more going on here than you realize.
Keep in mind that administration moved her team members under you for a reason.  You are implementing what they have asked you to do.

and
Remember that here you actually have two (2) concerns.
1 - That your stakeholder is skipping you in the org structure
2 - That your direct employees are skipping you in the org structure by doing favors for your stakeholder by taking direct instructions from her

There are MT PodCasts for both of these Concerns

.
Listen to these Podcast

Peer Conflict when Directs are Involved

https://www.manager-tools.com/2007/02/handling-peer-conflict-when-your-d...
https://www.manager-tools.com/2007/02/handling-peer-conflict-when-your-d...

and

For your Direct reports -  Here is advice for them :

Aunt Trap
https://www.manager-tools.com/2021/01/aunt-trap

Good Luck

TJPuccio

Nevergiveup's picture

I feel this advice is deep and is solid gold. Whatever the outcome I would like to say thank you so much for helping me get a great MT grounded perspective on this. Super appreciate it.