Submitted by AJS on
I recently promoted somebody 'two levels up' and she is now managing her former supervisor. It was 100% the right decision; the new manager was already doing all of the managment work the supervisor was missing on. I communicated the news to both people (individually) before anything was announced and explained in some detail the reasons. I knew it would be disappointing news but got the reassurance 'i'll keep giving the same effort' etc. which was encouraging.
I could have handled the decision/communication better, I'm sure - the non-promoted person heard some of the reasons she was not promoted but I didn't reel off a list of failures when delivering news that was aleady poor; plus these were not news thanks to previous one-on-one meetings.
The problem: the passed over person is making life difficult for the new manager, obstructing, not responding to emails, declining meeting invites, etc. I was expecting a bit of a performance/motivation drop but not active hostility.
Thoughts on how to communicate that this isn't acceptable and needs to end quick? Other things I can do? This is related to the 'I am a former peer' podcast but didn't see others on the subject. I want to take the lead on this rather than expect the new manager to deal with it.
Depends in part on where they are relative to you
Feedback about poor performance regardless of motive, is in the hands of the immediate manager. So it's her duty to "read him the riot act" and get the passed-over supervisor to step up or be stepped out. Active hostility to one's boss is also (in effect) active hostility to one's organization. If for some reason there's valid cause to oust him earlier, make sure it's well supported, since he might be angling for some "you fired me unreasonably so pay me off or I sue" legal action.
You say "you promoted [her]". Where are you relative to her? If she's your direct, you can coach her (Manager Tools style) in handling this. If she's in your "chain of command", you get to work through the intermediate manager(s) to get that coaching in place. If not even that, she's a protege, and you'll be face-to-face with her but informal.
Good luck with it, for you and especially for her.
PS If you're a licensee ...
... email Manager Tools founder Mark [Horstman] for thoughts and tips. He might have something off-the-cuff to complement anything you might uncover in searching through the "universe" of podcasts.