need some smart responses - employee trying to manage me

(44 Posts)
Tanfastic Thu 31-Mar-16 22:28:00

....when I'm the manager!

She's a very good member of staff, extremely good at her job, liked by colleagues etc. However I struggle with her because she is constantly trying to tell me subtly how to do my job.

For eg. She will ring me and ask me if I've done something or other. I'll say yes, I've got that covered and she'll say "I'll cross that off my list then". (why is it on your list?).

She will ring me and tell me that something I regularly order needs to be ordered again, then she will go into detail about how many I need to order (like I've no brain).... Erm yes thank you for your input but I've got it covered angry.

I recently asked her a question about how much a supplier was charging as she deals with the invoices (as I'd been approached by a competitor and was looking into possibly changing to save the firm money). Instead of just giving me the answer I require, she starts asking me why I'm asking because if I'm thinking of changing supplier these are all the reasons I shouldn't ....yes ok, I'll take that on board thanks very much.

I just find it irritating. I feel like she's trying to be the manager rather than the other way around. Like she's always checking up on what I'm doing and the way I'm doing it.

I like her, she's a nice woman and I think she means well. She's just very bossy and controlling. Just wondered if anyone has any good one-liners I could use to get the message across without upsetting the apple cart that I'm the boss so fuck off with your helpful (not) comments!

OpenMe Thu 31-Mar-16 22:30:45

Honestly? All sounds perfectly normal and helpful to me. A perfect opportunity to delegate a bit and "develop" your staff member/build your successor, as all good managers should

ElderlyKoreanLady Thu 31-Mar-16 22:37:50

For eg. She will ring me and ask me if I've done something or other. I'll say yes, I've got that covered and she'll say "I'll cross that off my list then". (why is it on your list?).

What you've put in brackets is exactly what you should be responding!

Is she due an appraisal? A point I'd bring up..."I'm aware you're trying to be helpful but it often comes across as though you don't trust those around you to do their jobs." Expand on that and give her the examples above.

Tanfastic Thu 31-Mar-16 22:38:45

Really? This is normal? Then why do I not find it helpful? I find it condescending, like she doesn't trust me to do the job that I know I'm very good at.

Tanfastic Thu 31-Mar-16 22:40:08

Elderly, I probably don't want to upset her by saying what I'm thinking!

Chorltonswheelies422 Thu 31-Mar-16 22:41:08

Sounds like she needs more stretch projects - build a development plan with stretch stuff for her

ElderlyKoreanLady Thu 31-Mar-16 22:42:45

But "why is it on your list" is a perfectly valid question coming from her manager. confused

DoreenLethal Thu 31-Mar-16 22:44:08

She doesnt seem bothered about upsetting you.

Tackle it head on.

'I will cross it off my list'

'Could you just pop into my office for a minute, and tell me why it was on your list in the first place, ta'.

Stop saying you will take it on board nd exert your authority.

Or - delegate it to her. She obviously seems competent so give her the tasks that you dont want, whilst keepng the stuff you do.

Tanfastic Thu 31-Mar-16 22:44:40

Well yes, I probably need to be more assertive.

USERNAME213 Thu 31-Mar-16 22:47:23

Does she do it around other people? Ie try and highlight to them why she's better than you?

Tbh I would find her terribly annoying. Agree with all the other suggestions - bring it up IN PDP, give her a stretch project so she knows she is valued but she is still learning, and also why not just ask her once - why is it on your list? May shock her into being put back into her place.

exWifebeginsat40 Thu 31-Mar-16 22:49:58

really, though, as an experienced manager you should know how to handle this. if not, you should probably ask your HR department, not solicit advice on the internet.

USERNAME213 Thu 31-Mar-16 22:51:44

I disagree. There's no manual for little upstarts like this girl, and sometimes as a manager you come across new experiences and it's ok to ask for advice from others you may feel could have been through it.

OpenMe Thu 31-Mar-16 22:53:04

I really don't understand why any manager wants to put a competent employee "in their place". Value and use her skills, develop them so she gets better job satisfaction and have the confidence to know you're the boss and good at it. All the best Managers who've worked for me. have been completely unthreatened by good/ambitious team members. The poor managers are the ones who have a problem with them

ElderlyKoreanLady Thu 31-Mar-16 22:53:10

Agree with exWife. I mean this in a constructive way: you're being ineffectual. It's not really much wonder someone is stepping on your toes.

Tanfastic Thu 31-Mar-16 22:53:32

Username I don't know if she does, she shares an office with another lady I manage so I assume I'm discussed!

I do feel it's more a control thing. She's busy and has enough to do and has a very responsible job but constantly I feel she's treading on my toes. I feel she's no faith in me as a manager, like she feels she could do a better job if that makes sense.

I haven't been her manager for that long and I do wonder if she struggles with it, we used to be on the same level.

Tanfastic Thu 31-Mar-16 22:56:02

I thought that is what Mumsnet was for...asking advice. We don't have a HR department.

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Thu 31-Mar-16 22:57:09

"really, though, as an experienced manager you should know how to handle this."

Oh for goodness sake, is there really a need to be quite so mean?

OP, it's hard to be assertive especially when you are primed to automatically respond in a polite manner, but remember you are the boss and she should the one who is worried abouthat what you think, not the other way round.

exWifebeginsat40 Thu 31-Mar-16 22:59:25

i'm not being mean. i'm being rational, based on experience. 'need some smart responses' is just internet shorthand for 'snarky remarks'. which is unprofessional, in my opinion.

Tanfastic Thu 31-Mar-16 22:59:52

Thanks for all the helpful responses.

ElderlyKoreanLady Thu 31-Mar-16 23:03:50

Have you had training in management OP? Is this your first time managing others?

What she's doing is annoying and she's definitely stepping on your toes. But she sounds like someone who you'd do well to utilise. She may well not have faith in you as a manager but not confronting her at all when she's doing this will reinforce that.

OpenMe Thu 31-Mar-16 23:05:09

I agree with exwife. I'd be really disappointed if one of my managers felt the need to use smart responses to put a team member in their place. I welcome any staff member's enthusiasm to do a bit more than their paygrade and develop themselves and expect my managers to do the same. When I have people working directly for me who the kinds of things op describes, I consider it watching my back rather than undermining me.

I'm afraid op it sounds like you have issues with managing someone who was recently the same level as you, as much as she has issues with being managed by you.

Tanfastic Thu 31-Mar-16 23:09:02

Yes elderly, this is the first time I've had a managing position with no training! It's a small establishment where the directors are never around - they've put me in charge.

They've never had a manager before which I think is half the problem. The staff were left to their own devices, there were no procedures for anything, everything was pretty much a shambles. I've spent the last year getting everything into some kind of routine, putting proper procedures in place so that everything runs more smoothly.

I'm just getting settled now into a good, efficient routine. I expect this is where the fun starts.

Tanfastic Thu 31-Mar-16 23:11:00

Open me - thanks for your honesty, sounds like I've got a lot of learning to do.

RandomMess Thu 31-Mar-16 23:14:12

With your later posts it sounds like there needs to be further discussion/issuing of roles, responsibilities, processes etc.

Your colleague could genuinely not be sure whether some things you have sole responsibility for or that she's expected to monitor and inform you of.

Could you actually involve all the staff in review the procedures created and how well they are working etc? Where do they want clarification?

EBearhug Thu 31-Mar-16 23:14:36

She's clearly got ability - can you delegate some duties to her which she would be responsible for? Any opportunities to promote her? Offer her training? Move her to a project management role?

It would also be reasonable to give her feedback - while being proactive and so on is all very well, she didn't know why you're asking about the supplier, so it would have been preferable just to give the answer, until she was asked for her opinion. I suspect if you'd then asked about pros and cons of changing supplier, you would have been glad of the detail, so it's probably a question of channelling her efforts.

What was her previous role? I wonder if in a previous job, her manager expected her to keep track of things going on and give prompts about tasks which still needed doing, and approaching deadlines, and she hasn't adjusted her style.

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