Resented By Co-Managers

Question:

I work in a small company as a manager. I was hired based on my success in previous companies. I took over this position from an individual who was a friend to several managers who remained with the company. They resent me taking this individual’s job and they work daily to set up roadblocks to hinder my success.

To me it’s very frustrating to experience unprofessional behavior from people who are sabotaging the success of the company.

To be candid, I really do not need the job because I am wealthy and only work get out of the house. Also, I am deeply committed to helping this company become successful. When that happens, I will invest money in the company.

For instance, one manager tried to set me up and told an upper manager he trained me on a program (he lied) and later told upper management I entered bad data in the company’s database. I am reconsidering whether to invest in this company based on these manager’s actions. What course of action do you propose? I believe this company can be very successful.

Signed,

Reconsidering My Options


Answer:

Dear Reconsidering My Options:

There are two issues that should help you be successful, apart from your personal commitment: You have a record of success and you have the financial freedom to risk being honest with your higher managers.

I don’t think it would be much of a risk to be appropriately honest about your concerns. No one at the upper levels of a company wants to lose a manager who is dedicated to helping the company succeed, if the manager is approaching it the right way.

If you have a good relationship with the manager immediately above you, talk to him or her and ask what he or she would like from you in addition to or instead of your current work. In an appropriate way, you could say that you are frustrated that you don’t seem to be as well accepted by other managers as you had hoped, and you would like some advice about how to handle that.

No matter what you have to offer, those above you probably think of you in a subordinate role and would respond better to a willing-to-learn approach, than to a more assertive approach. At the same time it would probably be refreshing for your manager to hear someone enthusiastically talk about a bright future for the company, built on good practices that are happening now.

In that way, no matter what your co-managers have said, your own manager will not be inclined to give it credibility. Your manager probably has enough experience to recognize jealousy and resentment–and probably your co-managers have dropped plenty of hints about their feelings. So, that will be considered when they complain.

You will also want to make sure that your awareness of your financial freedom doesn’t make you inadvertently come across as feeling superior to them. They have been there longer than you, apparently. So, perhaps they feel you came in with your own agenda and didn’t want to learn from their tenure and experience. You may be able to correct that. If not, at least you might be able to calm the conflict by a pleasant, positive demeanor.

You probably also have employees who report to you and they are looking for leadership and encouragement. They aren’t as concerned about your working relationship with the managers as they are with their relationship with you. So, putting your attention on them will not only help them; it will give you a cadre of support.

Even though you find your co-managers to be lacking in commitment to the company, they certainly do not want to see it fail. Perhaps one or more of them would respond the idea of meeting to see how the team could work better. Or, if not that, maybe one or more would respond better to you if he or she saw you working with your team and linking your team to other employees in positive ways.

I always mention the three ways to gain influence: Be credible, be valuable and communicate effectively (directly, positively and frequently.) Through influence perhaps you can see a stronger team emerge and thus a stronger company in which you would like to invest your resources.

Best wishes in your efforts. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what actions you take and what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe