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My diirect report is undermining me

(11 Posts)
Snowybird Sat 08-Feb-14 22:55:04

I have just started at a new firm and have one person reporting to me. She has decided she doesn't need to follow my instructions or turn up to any meeting I schedule. As you can imagine I got into a conversation with HR pretty quickly, however rather than initiating disciplinary measures or at least some sort of monitoring, they and my manager have decided that she is "upset" and have now allowed her to report to another manager, which means in practice that she is doing next to nothing while I do my job and hers. Also, the others in the team are clearly losing respect for me as well because they can see that I do not have the respect of my direct report. I am not sure what to do - any ideas?

BTW there is no indication that she is having any personal difficulties which would explain this behaviour. Nor is there any criticism of my performance.

Minnieisthedevilmouse Sat 08-Feb-14 23:06:47

Ouch. Sorry.

There's history and none of it is your fault as a new firm member.

Could you do coffee and broach head on? Off site? Seriously. Either she thought the job hers or your asking style is madly wrong. Were it the second more people would have issue. Just her....well...ishoos.

Not nice but I'd hit with love. Embarrasses people beyond belief...

tribpot Sat 08-Feb-14 23:16:19

Are you on probation? I'd be getting worried that I was being set up to be chucked out for under-performance whilst Madam swans about doing sod all except being upset.

Although she is reporting in to another manager, is she still ostensibly doing the same work? If yes, it's the other manager's responsibility to ensure the work is done. If no, your own objectives need to be revised to take account of the available headcount, i.e. just your own.

You probably should have gone ballistic when they moved her to another manager - it's so obviously undermining and a hopeless response to an underperforming member of staff. However, now that you can see that the new arrangement is not satisfactory, I think you need to make some noise about this, before it all blows back on you.

You have my sympathies, this sounds like a shit situation to be in. I suspect she intends to run you off so she can have your job.

Snowybird Sat 08-Feb-14 23:20:58

Thank you for these responses which make sense, but it is even more bizarre than that. She cannot take my job because she does not have the required qualification and neither does anyone else in the firm (that's why they brought me in). Also, the manager she is now reporting to agrees/sympathizes with me and would rather not have been dragged into this. So I am really struggling to see how this new arrangement can benefit anyone. What am I missing here?

tribpot Sat 08-Feb-14 23:36:12

Well sympathy is all well and good but someone needs to be managing this person. Since you've been told not to, the other manager needs to can the sympathy and get the hell on with sorting the problem out.

This arrangement doesn't benefit anyone except your lazy arsed manager who came up with it in the first place - hoping the slide the problem off his/her plate for a few more months. I suggest you and the person managing her now confront your own manager together, outlining why the arrangement is unsuitable and asking formally for steps to be taken to resolve the situation.

fascicle Sun 09-Feb-14 08:17:13

I would say, from the information given, that HR and your manager have undermined you, rather than the person who reported to you. Their response - to move her - seems extremely odd.

The key is to find out exactly why she's upset. If it's just because you have a job she was after, then that's a woefully inadequate reason for her behaviour and a very poor response from HR/your manager.

Talk to HR/your manager to establish the real reasons behind this. If they aren't prepared to give the information, then perhaps it's a question of talking directly to the woman (I'd go with Minnie's super nice approach in that case). Once you know what this is really about, you'll be in a position to properly address this.

vaseoftulips Sun 09-Feb-14 10:09:59

I would be super nice too but would want to get to the bottom of this otherwise you may end up becoming a scapegoat.

Similar thing happened to my friend who was recruited into a position where they wanted a particular skill she had. The team weren't even aware she was starting and no one would help her or speak to her. The company ended up getting rid of her after her after a short while (i.e. marched her off the premises getting rid of her). It was shocking and she should have fought it but didn't. Companies need to be pulled up on things and if they know you won't take any shit they'll be wary of messing you about.

Best of luck.

Snowybird Sun 09-Feb-14 14:29:55

I have been tolerant so far but reading your responses, I am starting to feel angry. I will tackle HR and my manager as suggested. Wondering whether they are acting in good faith at all.

flowery Sun 09-Feb-14 15:08:22

What do you want out of this OP? She sounds like she has history and has obviously been challenging to manage. You are no longer having to manage her though, she is no longer your direct report. Do you want her reporting to you again?

You say you spoke to HR pretty quickly. What steps did you take to manage her yourself? How did you deal with her refusal to follow instructions or turn up to meetings? How did it escalate to needing HR advice?

Minnieisthedevilmouse Sun 09-Feb-14 19:47:43

I'm guessing totes but I reckon said girl thought she was being groomed for the role, that maybe could qualify on job? That somehow it going out wasn't in the plan. Any chance she could do say 75 of the role but last 25 needs the quals? It sniffs of a poor previous manager promising above ability.

Snowybird Sun 09-Feb-14 21:36:23

OK, I think I should give you a bit more context. She was working in this area, but then it was decided by senior management that it needed managing at a much higher level, and I was brought it as the permanent project manager to do that. However no one suggested that she had not been doing a good job - on the contrary she received lot of praise for what she had achieved and there is plenty of scope for her to do more. She has chosen needlessly to see my arrival as a personal slight. My only priority is to get the project delivered!

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