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Submitted by twinsen on


Should I tell my direct that my manager is trying to convince me to reassign her to another team due to performance?  (i.e. I give up my direct)

My manager commented in our O3 on the performance of this business analyst.  When my team dropped the ball on something last month, she said that she wants her reassigned to another team (composed of purely business analysts) so that she learns from them. 

I don't know whether I should use this as a coaching motivator or not.

As an additional comment, my team is self-enclosed whereas for my manager all her other teams are organized by function.

jhack's picture

 You should be coaching your direct on her performance (or simply giving feedback if the issue is smaller).  Her performance is your responsibility, and should be addressed by giving her responsibilities aligned with her skills, and coaching her to the next level. 

Why would staying with your team be considered a motivator?  Wouldn't moving to a team where she might gain skills and be more productive be better for her?  Are you trying to protect your own headcount?  

Finally, put yourself in your boss's shoes for a second.  She has a problem she's not discussing with you:  one of her managers is struggling to get good performance from the team.  You need to take action to improve your managerial performance. 

John Hack

twinsen's picture
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Thanks John.

My initial gut feeling was not to tell my direct.  I didn't want to drop this as a "threat" for her to improve or else.  I also didn't want her to be surprised if she got transferred either but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

For me if she gets reassigned, it's not so much headcount as I failed to get the best out of her (which would be really bad as I use all of the MT tools); so personal pride.  I already told my boss in my O3 that if I am effective for the team & organization managing 0 people sitting in a mail room, that's what I'll do. 



maura's picture
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BLUF:  Don't discount your manager's idea, it's a good one, and mostly not about you.  And I agree with John.

It sounds like your manager considers this BA good enough to keep with the company...but in response to dropping the ball, something needs to be done so there are no repeats. The way I read it, your manager thinks the BA has potential but needs some mentoring with others in the same line of work, on the specifics of the job (I assume you are not a BA and can't personally coach her on this, nor can anyone else in your team).  Maybe it's not so much about you personally.  Maybe it's something that can strengthen the BA, your team, and the company in the long run.

Find out if your BA could do the reassignment as a 6-month cross-training stint, where she is "lent" out to this other group, and then comes back wiser and in a better position to do her job effectively, within your team.  Could that BA group lend you someone back during those 6 months so you're not short-staffed?  Maybe a more experienced BA has some process suggestions or best practices that your team could learn from too.  That's good for everybody involved, including you, in the long run.

To answer your question - the last 10 minutes of an O3 is for discussing the future. Clarify first with your manager, whether this could be a temprorary reassignment, and whether it's an OPTION rather than a done deal.  Figure out what the options are before you talk to her. If you can swing a temporary cross-train arrangement, don't just mention it, encourage it.  It's a huge opportunity.

Here's the part that's about you.  To John Hack's point, coaching her and figuring out how not to drop the ball in the future was your responsibility, not your manager's.  Maybe you didn't come up with an action plan in response to the ball dropping, or you did but your manager wasn't satisfied with it.  Or maybe they just wanted to contribute additional suggestions.  I wasn't in the O3, I don't know how this was presented.  For you personally, there are probably some takeaways that you should think about, in terms of coaching better and coming up with "lessons learned" when things go wrong, so your manager doesn't have to step in.  My boss's motto is that for the most part, there's no shame in making a mistake, as long as you learn from it (and I love that about her!).  Is your BA willing to learn from the situation and do better next time?  Are you?

tomjedrz's picture
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DO NOT share this with the direct. Your job is to buffer your subordinates from organizational drama so that they can focus on their jobs.

Instead, DO YOUR JOB.  Do share that the problem has caused you trouble, and that it can't happen again. Work with the direct on improving performance. That may include having her work with peers on the other team. FIX THE PROBLEM.

A couple of other notes ...

Why is your boss is holding your subordinate responsible rather than holding you responsible? Did you throw the subordinate under the bus when the ball was dropped? Did you allow someone else to throw the subordinate under the bus? Part of being a manager is taking the hit when a subordinate performs poorly, then dealing with the subordinate to correct the issue.

Why is your team organized differently than the rest of the department?  If there is a legit reason, hold on to that reason, use it when necessary, and include it in your team's performance. If the reason is not legit (or no longer relevant), realize that sooner or later your team will be split. If that leaves you the odd manager out, I would discuss the situation with your boss, and quite possibly be looking for another position.

twinsen's picture
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Thanks for everyone's comments.  I actually did not divulge it although I've put a lot of emphasis since John's comments on renewing efforts into my direct's coaching, targeting new goals and getting better resources. 

In spite of the situation, my boss thinks rather highly of me.  In the dress down, she said I was the next her.  I wasn't sure whether that's supposed to be some weird form of motivation.  I told her my job was to make her life easy and that I would fix this but she said I'm making her life too easy and she wants to hear problems, even if I don't have a solution yet.  Being weeks removed, I recall this now.  Being a high D and C, it blew right by me at the time.

In case you folks are interested in more details:

The ball was worked on a little but some dependency on another team sitting in the US was not discovered until later (from finishing other "balls") and I instructed people to move on because the dropped ball seemed terminal and a detriment to 6 or 7 other things we had on the go.  Why this person is getting the flak - because figuring out what to do is what business analysis is about; at least according to my boss.  Make no mistake, when I got dressed down, I said it was my fault (heck I say it's my fault when my boss drops the ball).  Perhaps my boss had this in mind long ago and just needed the reason to move the analyst.  I did promise my boss I would step up communications; this would seem to be of benefit to both parties.

My team works differently because it's an artificial construct.  My role never existed in the country I worked in.  It was there in Europe and in US (I'm in Canada).  So I asked for the role (Application Development Manager) to be created for me.  Some spare people were assigned to me and I pretty much have defined my own job description since I manage end to end and not just development.  My team feel they're more of an elite team; we deliver every quarter and have the most responsibilities (30+ systems, 20M volume).  The other teams are organized by discipline.  They do 2 systems together and deliver about once a year and are 4 times the size of mine.

If I were my boss, I'd want just one org style but there's already other people managing all the other IT disciplines - to make a long story short, basically someone would have to leave. 





gpeden's picture

tom is spot on - your job is to take the heat when things go badly, and to make sure the team / team members get the recognition when things go well.  

I guess my question is why you are ok with your boss  making decisions you should be making.  You might consider having a conversation with your boss about who decides what.  Come prepared with a list of "I decide" (you could start with you job description), "Boss decides", and "we decide/discuss".  The best case is there isn't much discussion, maybe a tweak or two (usually something moves from the "I" to "We" pile). If there is a major disconnect then its best to know now.  Then next time it will be clear when your boss is making decisions that were agreed were yours to make. I have had succes with this approach.  She may rip your list to shreds - and if your list ends up being empty...

How can your boss "think highly of you", and at the same time show you so little respect?  If you were my direct, and your team was not delivering  (meaning *you* are not deliverying) - the last thing I want to hear from you is that you are here to make my job easier. What makes my job easier is not having to deal with your team not meeting expectations and taking away time that I should be spending on things that matter at my level. Especially if you didn't tell me that things were going south early - like i found out from *my* boss or customer that you didn't deliver.  

She isn't doing you any favors telling you how great you are if your team (meaning *you*) isn't meeting expectations.  Sounds like you are both blowing sunshine up each others nether-regions - meanwhile Rome is burning.  




DiSC 7511

twinsen's picture
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I will try the I-We list George.  Part of the reason there's no understanding of the role is because I made the role up.

I'm not naive to believe a lot (any?) of the praise is genuine.  In fact, I just did my mid year performance review, rated myself honestly and she said I'm being harsh on myself.  That was my only criticism.  I was told to not go too fast, don't push my team that much and use more vacation time.

But I can see where all the comments are coming from as I said "my team" and tend to use "we" instead of "I".