I have started as a Director and team manager 3 weeks ago.

I just have realized that my boss (a much older man) has absolutely no knowledge of my specialization field, but only senior management skills.

Should I just keep calm, deliver and try to explain him the basics of my job? On the other hand it seems like he is getting afraid of my high competence and try to micromanage my every step...

Any advice is highly appreciated.

Thank you!


jrb3's picture
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Senior managers don't need to know the details of all jobs, just enough to be sure that the organization serves customers and stays alive.  You don't mention what your duties are, nor his, nor what other structure there is in the picture.

Keep calm and deliver.  And make sure you are clear on what he expects you to deliver, and why.  (Good default advice, I think.)  You might consider looking at the material on DISC and working out how you and he differ in your default communications.  In my experience, many bosses start their time with a new direct report on a "short leash".  Then the leash lengthens as trust and comfort increase.

-- Joseph

Tori_74's picture

 Many thanks Joseph! Very helpful.

Kootenay_Mike's picture

I just went through a change of management. I am a high D and I figured out my boss is a high S. It took me a while to adjust. I studied up on working for a high S boss using MT and DISC. I highly recommend the Effective Relationships cast series. It's well worth the price. My boss does not have a strong background in my specialty, however; he does have 20 years + experience on me. What I know about my specialty probably pales in comparison to what he has seen and done overall. I sent him my resume, my CV, my assessments, my DISC profile and the list of my section's capabilities. It was frustrating at first as I think he had a very different impression of me and my section that what was reality. I set up a meeting after the first 90 days. During the meeting we talked out each of our priorities then the future. I told him we were there to serve the organization and support him. He stated he relied on my expertise and would talk to me if any issues arise that need addressing. I found out he is a pretty cool guy. Since this time me and my section have demonstrated our commitment to him and the organization through work product and participation.

When I think about my expertise, I think about this story:

Henry Ford was called uneducated by his critics. He invited these critics to his office one day and told them to ask any question they wanted and he would answer it. The critics did ask him questions. Ford would pick up the phone and call one of his many experts and get the answer to the question. Ford's point? He didn't need to be an expert. He just needed to organize them and get them to work toward his goals.

Take care, let us know how it works out.

dan west's picture
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It's tough to give any recommendation without specifics. All I can say is if you've only been on the team for 3 weeks, I think it is totally acceptable for your boss to be that engaged in your day to day. It's exactly what I would do because I want to make sure the new person (1) establishes solid relationships and (2) doesn't make any glaring mistakes that could hurt them in the long run. Starting in a new role/organization is tough. I think you need to give your boss time to understand how you work and see the results. If you're getting strong results consistently after a period of time (several months, not weeks), then it's time to worry.

Also, it's very important to understand that the boss may be in the position they are in for reasons you do not know or understand yet. One of the marks of a good manager is someone who hires people who are better than them. Don't assume that just because you have deeper technical knowledge you shouldn't report to your current manager. 

If you can highlight specific behaviors that your manager has done that leads to your conclusions, I may be able to give better advice. 


Good luck

Tori_74's picture

 Many thanks for your kind advices. Very helpful. I will PM you for further details.