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BLUF: One of my peers (manager) gives feedback and direction to my direct, and many times it is contrary to the feedback & direction I am giving. What is the best way to address this?

Details:
For some time now, one of my peer managers has been giving feedback and direction on my direct's projects, which seems to be eroding the relationship with my direct and with my peer.

Normally I would just address this using the guidance from the Peer Feedback model podcast, but it's very common for my team and I and my peer and his team to work closely on projects, so I want to be cautious and not disrupt the atmosphere of collaboration that’s been established.

What compounds the issue is that, due to space limitations, my direct and my peer share a work area (sit next to each other), while I am located in an adjoining building. Meaning that there is a great deal of relationship building going on between the two, which normally would be a good healthy occurrence where it not for the mixed feedback and direction.
 
I realize that this may read as sour grapes and that I should be pleased that the two teams are working well together, it's just that the direction my direct is being given is, in some case, vastly different to mine.

Thank you for your advice,

MAnon

 

Mark's picture

What does your direct do?  Please be specific.

What does your whole team do?

What does this peer manager do?

Why haven't you told your direct to stop doing what the peer tells him when it contradicts what you've told him, and why haven't you asked your peer to stop doing so with some peer feedback?

Mark

MAnon's picture

What does your direct do?  Please be specific.

He is a our Senior Graphic Designer, for web and multimedia. Basically he set the direction and standards for any designs that would appear on our businesses many brand websites. In designing out new websites and features he routinely works hand-in-hand with the development team and my peer.

What does your whole team do?

Marketing Communications. Across Print, Web, Television and Radio and also Trade Shows.

What does this peer manager do?

Web Development Manager. However, though he is only responsible for development work, my peer has a strong background in design, and his behaviors would suggest that he feels he has 'right'  or authority/expertise to comment or set direction when design is concerned.

Why haven't you told your direct to stop doing what the peer tells him when it contradicts what you've told him, and why haven't you asked your peer to stop doing so with some peer feedback?

With my direct, I have and will continue to. Though I am concerned that this may start to sound like mixed messaging, ie. 'Yes, I'm all for collaboration, but don't take advice or direction from him'.

As far as my peer is concerned, over the last few months I have had to ask him to respect the reporting structure and to stop directing my directs actions. With mixed results, meaning it will stick for a few weeks then start up again. Additionally,  I have also had to address the boundaries between design and development, meaning that we keep our opinions to our own buckets. But still the problems persists.

On one occasion our shared director became involved and had to address the 'design does design, dev does dev' issue. Other than these issues, my peer is regarded as a top performer, which I readily state, is a reputation he deserves.

Thoughts?

asteriskrntt1's picture

I think you need to revisit what collaborate means.... it certainly does not mean interfering with the management of another manager's directs.  There do not seem to be any repercussions for this person's behaviour, thus, there is no incentive to change.  You might want to think about that. And if you keep telling your direct to ignore this manager and your direct keeps ignoring you, you have to up your level of feedback to your direct.