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Submitted by Dave75 on


I have today been given an opportunity to stand in for my boss (state Operations Manager) for a month while he is out of state managing a critical project.  I would like advice about the actions I should take to ensure results in this temporary role.  My current boss does not do O3's and essentially manages by exception.

I am an individual contributor and will still be responsible for results in my core role.  My boss has identified me as a top performer in my last review,  in which he told me I was being looked at as having a future in management in the company.  I see this situation as an opportunity to substantiate this analysis with results. 

I think that I must still rely on the relationship/expert power that I have developed in my current role, as I do not have true role power in this situation.  In my opinion, this may be the greatest benefit of the situation.  If I can generate results without having the fallback of role power, it will reflect positively on my management potential.

My feeling is that I should not try to implement anything new in this month (i.e. O3's etc) and simply concentrate on results.  I have good relationship with my peers, and I hope that this will be enough to enable me to generate results.

I know that my bosses boss (skip manager?) is watching this situation closely,  and that if I succeed in this temporary role, it may lead to future opportunities.

I welcome suggestions regarding the course of action I should take, and whether my analysis of the situation is correct.  To me it feels like an interview, and the actions I take will affect my future opportunities with this company.



jrosenau's picture

I think you are assessing the situation correctly.  Rely on your current relationship / expert power.  And, when in doubt, assume its an interview.


tlhausmann's picture
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Is Attending a Meeting for Your Boss

*Learn* as much as you can about the nature of the whole department.

Also check out the Manager Tools forum discussion on "Briefing Books"  it was discussed back in Aug 2006 podcasts.

Mark's picture
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I'd recommend you try to initiate Peer One on Ones, "to make sure there's as much open communication as possible." There's a cast for that. ;-)

Call them weekly check ins, if you like.

I hope your relationship with your peers is as good as you think - that's what will determine whether they will say yes.

Then, get 1-2 of your friends who are peers and who agree with them to slip an email to your boss telling him things are fine and they really appreciate your effort to at least stay informed in a very unobtrusive way.  Something like, "30 minutes a week really works pretty well - painless, but we cover a lot."

That's what I did, anyway.  ;-)


Dave75's picture
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Thank you so much for your comments and advice.  I am about to relisten to the "Peer One on Ones" and the "Attending meetings for your boss" casts. 

John, thank you for your comments - it really helps to hear validation of my analysis.

TLHausman, as soon as I read your comments I recalled listening to the "attending meetings for your boss".  I think your advice is spot on - my job here is not to "be" the manager, but to "represent" him.  Thank you for your input.

Mark, I hadn't thought about it from the angle of Peer One on Ones, thank you for pointing that out.  If nothing else, this experience will confirm whether I have built the relationships with my peers to the level that I think I have, and will highlight areas I need to work on. Thank you - both for your advice here, and for the 500+ casts of great advice you have put together with Mike.


I will do my best to keep this thread updated with the outcomes from the next month.




Dave75's picture
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Further advice request: will rolling out the trinity before I am officially promoted be detrimental ("who does this guy think he is?")


So much has happened in the last 3 months, my feet have hardly hit the ground.  Here (belatedly) is the update:

The month standing in for my boss went smoothly, I was able to have peer one on ones with the critical staff in the department with great results.  When my boss returned he was very happy with the results from the month, and his boss gave me very positive feedback also.

A few weeks later, my boss announced he had resigned to take up another opportunity.  He then went on leave for 3 weeks leaving me to continue my role standing in for him.  Since then, I have taken his responsibilties on a full time basis (I still have my job to do as well).  Last week I had a meeting with his boss, who told me I was doing a great job and that "when things picked up" I would be given a promotion into my old bosses role (we are a developing company in a very tough market). 

I am now in a position where I am responsible for the results my department, but I am still officially an individual contributor in my role.  I want to begin to "roll out the trinity", but I am hesitating because I do not have the credibility of 'being the boss' yet with my peers.

My current plan is to continue with the peer one-on-ones and wait until the promotion comes through before rolling out the trinity more widely.  I would love some feedback and advice on what I should do in this situation.