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Being resented by employee when going in as a consultant

(4 Posts)
Paintbynumbers Wed 07-Nov-12 09:57:31

I'm a consultant, giving advice on business development, project pitches etc.

I have a new client who are a new struggling company. I went in to do some work with them this week but there was one team member who was clearly unhappy I was there.

I can see why, as technically this is her job that she should be doing; she clearly resented that I had been drafted in and the meeting did end early because her attitude was not being terribly constructive. It was supposed to be a creative ideas session in the afternoon but she was becoming increasingly monosyllabic and tense.

The MD has asked me to go back, and he made clear that there are issues with her which are a problem. However, I don't know how to play it.

He's clearly not an experienced manager and I think she could be handled better. Do you think I should suggest working with her on an individual basis - try and get her onside in a collaborative way?

Or should I suggest working with the other team member who is a lot more perky?

Or should I just leave it up to him to solve his personnel issues wink

All management advice greatly received.

ClaraDeLaNoche Wed 07-Nov-12 10:02:06

The great thing about being a freelancer is not getting involved in this stuff! This has happened to me before, I just get on with doing the best job and act full of sweetness and light, and think about the money if things get difficult. The worse she is, the better you look. Sorry if that sounds heartless and her performance may be suffering because of poor management but I personally would stay out of it. Maybe at the end of the project you could give some general feedback to management about your overall observations?

KeemaNaanAndCurryOn Wed 07-Nov-12 10:06:45

Oh dear. No wonder they're having problems. In my experience there's two reasons why someone can be arsey when a consultant comes in.

1. They have been making all of the same suggestions, but the management don't have confidence in them so they get a consultant in. The consultant then makes the same suggestions that were made by the employee, but they are listened to. This gets the employee's back up.

2. The employee isn't confident and feel undermined by the management getting in consultants to do their job. As the work is done, they realise all of the things they should have done themselves. This makes them anxious and stressed that they may lose their job.

Either way this is a massive management cock up by the company. Either they should have confidence in the people that they've employed OR they should have employed someone who can do the job OR they should be able to manage the competency of someone in the role.

The fact that they are not doing any of this AND they've been unprofessional enough to tell an external consultant that they aren't happy with one of their employees work should tell you all you need to know about the company and its management.

My advice to you is to go and talk to the employee and ask what ideas they have and tell them you want to work with them to get things started. If that doesn't work, then just get your head down and get on with it, happy in the knowledge that you are going to get paid and don't have to work somewhere so unprofessional.

Paintbynumbers Wed 07-Nov-12 10:10:33

Thank you both of you - that's just what I wanted to hear.

I think it's a case of the MD becoming a manager by default and not really handling them very well.

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