Emerging Tech

Dealing with employees who want to run the show

What do you do if you manage a team whose members think they know more than you do, who make their own rules and have double standards. Here are the implications of such behavior and what you can do to change it.

It's a phenomenon you don't hear a lot about: That staffer or club of staffers who want to "run the show" and will sabotage your management efforts. These are the people who think they know better than you and can make your life miserable.

I've been on teams like this. During a meeting, you can find one or two of these people smirking or exchanging glances at almost everything the manager is saying. I will concede that sometimes a manager is not on the right track, but there are better ways to handle it.

In a piece called, Fire people who think they're entitled to run things, writer Ben Leichtling calls this sort of behavior a pattern he's seen in several organizations. They are, according to Leichtling, righteous and arrogant people who:

"...feel entitled to special privileges. They make their own rules and have double standards. They're self-reinforcing and ignore or don't care about what other people think."

Take a look at the piece to see what the implications of such behavior are and what actions you can take to remedy it.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

59 comments
AhmedAba
AhmedAba

Managers mainly are coordinators .. i.e at team's service .. they prepair the best environment for team to work .. and when it comes to decisions it should be after discussion/voting .. if there is a conflict the manager should have the final say and all should respect it. If an employee disrespect manager's decison he should sit with him and discuss it openly. If the employee don't think that the manager is qualified he should address the issue to higher management. If the employee is still disrespecting the manager at meeting then the manager should ask high management to move this employee.

S,David
S,David

The majority of the discussion on this question has gone off-track quickly. If my boss comes in and says "I want this project done, and I want you to use Method A", and my knowledge and training tell me that Method C would be better, then, yes, I should speak up and tell him that I believe there is a better way to do it. But, if he says sorry, I want Method A used, then I have to do it with Method A. There may be very good reasons why he wants Method A used, and does not feel the need to explain his decisions to me. That is his option as the leader. He does not want an argument, he wants something done. To go against him is very risky. I did that 20 years ago when I insisted that all new code I wrote would have dates as CCYYMMDD, when he wanted YYMMDD. I came within a whisker of getting fired over it, and the only reason I did not was that did not publicly undercut his authority. All our loud discussions were private, and my arguments stayed on technical grounds. I got lucky. It was a small issue, and I was right. If I had gone around talking about how he was a bozo for not knowing about Y2K issues, it would have been different. When you are the leader, and you have people that are not just disagreeing with you, but actively working to undercut your authority to make decisions, you have to do something. As a manager, my job is to represent the team to upper management, and protect the team from upper management when things go wrong. If I put my head on the chopping block for someone, and they thank me trying to put a knife in my back, their days are numbered.

gsbigger
gsbigger

Employees ARE entitled - they may not be empowered. The company is only the aggregate of ALL of its (employee) people. One lone drummer does not make an orchestra any more than the President can perform all the company positions. Unless the system on which the company operates chooses to incorporate the opinions, intellect, effort, and equitable reward for all 'employee' participants - you will have some facets of 'injustice'. From injustice, 'mutiny' will likely follow at several levels (line workers, managers, etc) and include stockholders if this isn't resolved to ensure viability and profit. NOTE: Does "Dealing With,,," suggest any attitude of 'management entitlement' or top-down viewpoint/posturing? - or am I being a 'problem employee'?

nitin.mahajan
nitin.mahajan

I think this kind of a situation can be used to the manager's advantage. He could empower these people with some task and only do the macro management of the development. This helps the juniors to more exposure of the situation that the managers goes day in and day out, in executing the similar job. If they are really worth it, then they would come out with flying colours. In both the cases, the manager is at advantage, because if the employee fails, he would not be in a position to challenge the manager again and would listen to him with greater intensity and if he does the task well, the manager has some enterpreneur's under him that could off load some of his activities

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Managers aren't there to KNOW, they are there to lead. They need to schedule project, fix the budget, and trust their folks to get the job done. That is all..

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Article was about leading a management team. Ie a team of managers. Normally you separate them from mere employees. Do I know more than my manager, almost certainly. A few basics of chaos theory came up the other day, he didn't seem to have a clue. :p

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

After reading the original article I get a different take. Project leaders can't always fire their people but they can request they be moved. Of course they don't want to admit to their bosses they can't handle the situation. The article didn't actually recommend firing the employees. It seemed to me he recommended documentation to build an "airtight case" then taking "action". He also didn't say what the action in his example actually was. As far as the rest goes, there's two sides to it. Sometimes management comes up with Decrees that "have to be followed" that are impossible. Then employees learn to ignore those Decrees. They get the job done and observe that management puts blinders on, or pretends to not notice that their Orders are ignored. I've seen that happen more than once. Just one more thought. In a well run place, who really "runs the show". Is it the manager who keeps things organized so that people can do their jobs? Or is it the people who actually wield the tools and perform? There are a lot of managers who think they control the hammer because they give orders, but the person who holds the hammer is the one who actually wields control.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

That might make someone a barely adequate manager, it makes them an utter failure as a leader though. It's my experience that any time a manager doesn't want to explain why, he knows I'm not going tro like it and that he's acting directly against my interests. So now as soon as I get silence or drivel as a reason, I take it as get this done so we can get rid of you. At that point I really don't give a crap about 'you'

kwray
kwray

From my point of view, the key problem is that this group of people willingly sabotaged their managers. If people willingly engage in this behavior, you can't have a functional team, because there is no trust among the team, or between the team and the manager. Their behavior has very real consequences for the entire team. In this environment, there is no possible way for the group to succeed. How to address this? If they sabotage their their manager, they sabotage their peers. Watch for a clear example of that, and document it. Then, sit down with the problem person and clearly explain your expectations for professional behavior, and how they differ from what you observed. Give them a pass on this event, but let them know you'll be watching. From then on, follow standard escalation procedures for employee discipline, and document, document, document. If you're in this situation, don't let it wait. Be clear about your expectations. If you are succesful in temporarily supressing this behavior, remember that they're just waiting to start it again! You may want to provide them with some 'profesional development' opportunities so they can learn a more constructive way to interact as part of a team.

nwilhelm31
nwilhelm31

What dear Ben is talking about is managers who are paranoid and lack confidence in their own skills. Got an employee who knows more than you? Got a hard-charger who has better leadership skills and challenges your authority? Fire them! Why waste time giving them an opportunity to work hard for the company and showing what they can do? Why waste time supporting them and making them important assets to the company? Really now, I think Bennie-boy has lumped too many stereotypes into one category. There's a big difference between no-talent minions with Napolean complexes, and highly skilled workers who are trying to prove how good they are. Any good manager knows the difference and how to handle them differently...

Four-Eyes
Four-Eyes

Wanna know why i'm such a great manager? Because I surround my self with competent and reliable people (or something to that effect)... Just look at Lex Luthor... :D

guillenkma
guillenkma

Clearly you shouldn't be a Manager yet. If you think that employees are "mere employees.", you are wrong. All members of the TEAM are important, from the programmer, engineer to the manager. They shouldn't be separated but rather united. So you are an expert (self promoted) in chaos theory or at least you know more than your manager about the topic. SO WHAT!!! Your manager knows more about managment than you, that's why he is there to begin with. At least in the eyes of those that make the decisions. Everyone is expert at something. The great manager is the one that puts the right person in the right job to maximally benefit the whole team. That equals; job satisfaction, improves production, increases personal value, and affects revenue. By the way, did you give your manager a "clue" honestly or was it "nanny nanny boo boo, I know more than you do"?

putchavn
putchavn

and rewarding if you care more for the team objectives and less for personal control. Submissive workforce may be easy to handle but may not have much deliver. Energetic and creative members of the team believe they can run the show better and resort to all subtle and overt act of manipulation. A successful manager needs to redirect personal and team energies to achieve the objectives of the team. That calls for a lot of interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences in addition to cognitive intelligence (Ref Howard Gardner?Multiple Intelligences).

dba88
dba88

This dynamic is very, very common! What really hit home was, as a project manager, to have experienced the looks, rolling eyes, smirks and other nagging and frustrating little behaviors that went on not only under my nose and in plain sight, but also the lunches and outside meetings that went on as well. First let me say that when these things happen, it undermines my authority and my ability to move the team forward. Also, as described in Ben's article, there was a queen bee, and in fact, a queen bee and two other (lady) consultants, three (male) consultants and three people from the client side. Let me tell you, the queen bee quite literally owned the ears of the client! Since my job was to get the job done and deliver a successful on time and reasonably within budget project, something was going to give, and I'll give it to you straight on! I left on a Wednesday evening to fly home. By Monday of the following week, three people on the team were replaced by new consultants, including the queen bee! Sorry if this goes against the grain of some of you, but this is extremely common and when you have a team that goes against a managers right and ability to manage, that does not fly! As expected, the client raised a huge stink and wanted our queen bee back and my company backed me up! Oh, and yes, I had several meetings with those consultants and the client over a four to six week period and I could plainly see that they were going to say one thing to me off site, and go back to their little shenanigans on site! My response - get 'em out of there! Otherwise, you've got a real mess on your hands if not handled quickly and decisively, even though in most instances, the consultants / employees / whoever, have reached that super influential stage with their functional and / or technical knowledge, they have to be taken off the project! One person mentioned that you don't or shouldn't interfere with these types of persons because it ineffectuates "brainstorming." Hey, call the sessions whatever you want, brainstorming sessions, status meetings, etc.! After having had two other managers leave the project, this behavior will not fly - at least for me anyway!

Ben
Ben

Hi Toni, et al., Thanks for referring to my article and for all your comments. I see that I wasn?t clear enough about the small part of a whole situation that I wanted to focus on. Of course, there are technical disagreements, challenges and arguments that go on in any team. Good managers must be open to those. Of course you want the eager beavers to shine and good managers do encourage them. Of course there are obnoxious, dictator bosses who squelch great employees. I was trying to focus on the behavior problem employees and managers who think they?re entitled to make the rules for professional behavior simply because they want to. As if they really think the sun rises and sets according to their commands. They think they can be obnoxious, belittle, harass, come late to meetings, put-down and make personal attacks on other people ? to name only a few behaviors ? just because they want to. Usually they?re very righteous and feel justified when they attack other people. These people will destroy team effort because they want to be the center of power and dictate how everyone else should act. Know any ? including managers, administrators and employees? Hope that clarifies the people and situations I was pointing at. You can see posts about some other ways to create hostile workplaces on my blog at http://www.BulliesBeGone.com. Best wishes, Ben

TooOldToRemember
TooOldToRemember

The article states that two previous managers tried and failed to correct this situation. But what about the one before that? Is that manager the one who allowed it to develop? Also telling is the statement that Harry had a new manager in his division. It sounds like there was a wholesale change of leadership put in place. In those situations there are often cadres of people who have either been mismanaged to the point of not being salvageable or those that have not had honest feedback and would do a good job for the company if they knew what was wanted. An opinion column in the April 21, 2008 ComputerWorld by Bart Perkins addresses a similar problem. Both of these are good reading for new or seasoned managers.

jdmercha
jdmercha

Personally I'd prefer to have employees who think that they should be running the show. I want them to be eager and come to me with different ideas. But if I can't quickly convince them that I should be running the show, then they were right in the first place. A manager should not be afraid of having his authority challenged, in an appropriate setting and a respectful manner of course. They should have the skills to demonstrate that they belong running the show. And if a subordinate has better skills than the manager needs to take advantage of those skills.

MN_Tech
MN_Tech

Tony Hopkinson, this is for you... Throughout this post you have displayed your arrogance and disdain for anyone falling outside of your realm of knowledge. It would appear from your many posts you believe yourself to be an expert of all trades (the type of person who has or knows someone who has gone farther, done more, knows more etc...). It would also appear to me that you are replying to an article relating to management of IT. You have admitted your non-interest in the subject of management and should keep your opinions to yourself or better yet go blog about it to your fan base outside of this forum. You have presented nothing other than conflict. If you in fact had contributions in the form of resolutions to these conflicts you could argue with valid points and on-topic conversation. It is good to see that you would simply quit if you knew nothing more than what you needed to know. Your interests will always fall behind the interests of the company, end of story. If you do not like the reason or lack there of, you probably know where the door is (it is the big rectangle opening from you try to sneak out when you think I won't notice). As a director I do not need to explain why something has to be done a certain way to subordinates, or I would spend all day explaining the glorious world of politics to tech folks who hate that sort of thing in the first place. With that said, I have enjoyed your witty banter and you have provided a perfect example of a subordinate that would assume they could run the show better than anyone else. Thanks!

S,David
S,David

Well, that "utter failure" of a leader took a two-truck cartage company to a global operation, so he must be doing something right. I guess the real question here is, once you decide that you don't give a crap about a manager, does that change your behavior, and if so, in what way? Swapping things around, if you had someone working for you that refused to come to your meetings on time, openly ignored your direction, and, by their actions, let everyone around know they thought you were a giant incompetent dick, what would you to?

gsbigger
gsbigger

While it may be a 'personality flaw' of the saboteur that could have been identified at pre-hiring via assessment tools, it now becomes a situational matter for all stake- holders. The '800 Lb gorilla' is in_the_room. Now, the situation exists within a 'system' that itself shares the blame - and the opportunity. That system either engages or rejects the opinions, intellect, and effort, and then by equity or entitlement rewards all 'employee' participants, You will then have cooperation or some facets of 'injustice' - at any/all levels. The 'Hero' in us all beckons us to rise to the level of our incompetence - and to look good. The 'competition' in us all beckons some to undermine others. The 'good will' in us all will enable cooperation when the system demands or supports it. Coercion is always less acceptable and less effective. Most folks will do what serves their own need, and serves others, so long as their own needs are met in tandem. So, given the situation, what is their 'need'? Even 'hecklers' may have valid input. "Engaging" them (in front of their commandeered audience of peers) will often result in something productive: they will be heard/satiated or embarrassed/out-voted(by team/Mgt. prerogative), and can ultimately be 'voted off the island' given this due process(first) and any subsequent rebellion/disruption. While this 'engaging' approach might seem misplaced - you can always test my 'ASSumption' - just send them 'up the ladder' and see what shows up (on their back side). But remember - this analytical approach could expose someone wishing to ascend the ladder, some person already up the ladder, or the ladder(system) as well. It could mean that other ASSumptions have to be displaced. OK, now who wants the microphone first..? NOTE: My sincerest appreciation for those who aspire and then exemplify great leadership, even lacking a good system.

lacyda3rd
lacyda3rd

Good verbal volley! This whole issue is centered around pride. There is a book that I am well acquainted with that says that a "proud look" is a thing to be hated. It also indicates that "pride comes before destruction." In essence pride is the inability to behave humbly. This is the case when have employees who want to run the show in the workplace. What better way to do this than to overtly prove that you know more than the manager. It is because of this type of behavior that kingdoms have been wiped out, wars have been created, and now it is evident in the workplace. Simply put, take the low road, you will be promoted much faster than by taking the high ground.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Toni is very management oriented, the first place she looks for fault is not at herself, or those above her. It's always the mere employee who's at fault. This thread being a case in point as the original article was a about a team of managers. So my confusion was how it morphed in to 'mere' employees f**ing up the job for managers again. In my experience a great manager is one who gets promoted before all their bad decisions catch up with them. You haven't posted enough for me to read between the lines . For instance is the manager part of the whole team our outside of it? Are management and leadership synonymous in your book? Is singling out one member of a team for praise or condemnation a good idea? I'm not suited to management, it's not where my skill sets lie, doesn't mean I can't tell the difference between a good one or a bad one though does it. Doesn't mean I can't judge the results of their efforts though does it? Oh I also should introduce you a wholly british concept, called irony. If you are going to interact with the brits on TR, you might want to get your head round it, before you do worse than shoot your self in the foot. Oh and don't call me an expert again, I don't have to tke that sort of crap from you or anyone.

marjorie.oszman
marjorie.oszman

These people were not interested in proving their talent, The employees had a lot of hostility and personal agendas which cost the company a lot of money. Cognetive therapy/practice can only go so far, and these employees were spoiled rotten brats who never grew up and it is not the place of a company or manager to provide therapy for people like this.

guillenkma
guillenkma

I am sure that you already attempted every professional avenue to get the "bees" and "drones" to fall into line. Further I surmise that you have the ability to manage a team possessing a great deal technical know-how, but you don't necessarily have the deep knowledge and rather have the broadscope knowledge of the project. True? If this is the case, I appluad 1) you for taking the stand for the betterment of the project and 2) the "uppers" giving you full support for the betterment of the company. Good on you!!!

zaferus
zaferus

I've seen network admin's like this, they sit in their ivory towers and look down with disdain to everyone else, they withhold information and generally spend their days feeling self important. They work in back channels and feel "above the law". What they really do is drag down morale, create a culture that is highly political and tear apart teamwork. I'm VERY much in favor of diversity, but when it comes down to a factor of respect, you're better off without an employee who is disdainful of everyone around them.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

I'm sure I'd trust my health to a doctor who had only a week's training. Just the perfect thing to keep everyone stupid and un-aware of their potential. Perfect for my former room-mate who only wanted to goto work then come home and stuff on pizza and beer. Wonderful for Big Brother the oppressor to take control! Probably the people who gave it a prize were relatives or readers of Nick Carr's hogwash.

guillenkma
guillenkma

Your statements; 1) "Personally I'd prefer to have employees who think that they should be running the show." and 2) "I want them to be eager and come to me with different ideas.", address two diffetn situations. #1 is the person that thinks you cannot do your job, you know nothing, you are out of the loop or many other similar statements. #2 is the person we all want working for us because they have developed their iche in the team, they are being productive and there is an atomosphere that empowers people to give input to better the team. Coming from a military background, I can tell you with much assurety that "challenges to authority" WILL breakdown the team and cause chaos. This is highly unproductive, unprofessional and a lose/lose situation. I would hope that by saying "A manager should not be afraid of having his authority challenged", you mean a Manager should not be afraid to receive input regarding decisions the Manager makes. This constitutes brainstorming and is a good thing. Brainstorming is NOT challenging authority. Challenging authority is going against what decisions a Manager makes, it makes the statement through behavior that the "challenger" 1) thinks the Manager is doing a poor job, 2) tells upper managment that "they' made a poor decision putting the Manager in the role to begin with and 3) cause confusion among the staffers, among other issues. This is NOT a good thing.

thomas.ratliff
thomas.ratliff

This quotation says it all. "When you hire people who are smarter than you are, you prove you are smarter than they are." -- R.H. Grant

enduroktm300
enduroktm300

What a refreshing thing to hear. I suspect you have a very good TEAM working with you. Kudos boss-dude

guillenkma
guillenkma

After the fourth time, one would think that you should be more aware of your surroundings. I don't have to get hit on the head with a hammer more than ONCE before I know it doesn't feel right.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

My mushroom tolerance is very very low. I like eating 'em no particular desire to be one though. Many many moons ago, my first go at mushroom, was down to the business unit I worked in being sold to the competition. I was too wet behind the ears to suss that and it came as a complete surprise. I however did extremely well out of that, and can't argue with the reasoning behind the misdirection, even though in my opinion they could have trusted me. Since then I've had two instances where I was passed fairly credible bullsh1t. Or at least it was credible based on what I was allowed to know at the time. Both times I trusted them, both times I was wrong.... Neither of those two occasions was any great profit to me, or to the organisations in question. One went bust, I would have advised a different solution, they probably wouldn't have listened, but I've got used to that.... The other, well suffice it to say, everthing that comes out out of their mouths is examined with great care an attention. It won't be as easy to pull the same gag again.

S,David
S,David

My point is that I think we are arguing at cross-purposes. The original column says, "That staffer or club of staffers who want to ?run the show? and will sabotage your management efforts." It looks to me that we both agree that someone, or a clique, that is trying to make their manager look bad should go. My take on the original was that the manager is reasonably competent. I still believe that a reasonably competent manager has the right to ask his team to do as he says. The qualifier is that he can not do it very often. I would venture to guess that your "very often" threshold is set a bit lower than mine. I would not tolerate the mushroom treatment, and have left jobs where that was SOP. But, there have been instances where I was asked to do something, and management was not able to tell me why it was needed until much later. Maybe we need to agree to disagree.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

So your point is ? The only reasons not to fill in an employee as to why, is you don't respect them enough to bother, or you know it will result in a negative impact on their performance right up to the point where they leave. They may feel they have no option, but if they want to exrecise their right to keep 'me' in the dark, then I'll be discarding their stick on my way out of the door. You'd get more out of me by teling me the truth. I may still leave but I'll have a time frame, a plan and the trust will rewarded with no drop in performance before I go. With someone like me you can rely on them being an intelligent professional, or you can take me for a thick twat. Choose and face the consequences. I only do the giant incompetent dick bit when I'm staying and I want 'you' to go. :D

Four-Eyes
Four-Eyes

I've seen that too many times, and more often than not, the person who gets the promotion is the a$$hole who takes all the credit for all the efforts of the quiet, humble and hard-working employee. I've had a manager who frequently said, "just make me look good and i'll make sure you get that promotion / raise you've been asking for", then after all the hard work and effort, he downplays your part in "his" success and takes all the glory. I've also had my share of back-stabbing co-workers who will USE you to further their own agenda and DROP you like a hot potato when the $hit hits the fan... "Low road" my a$$! I have yet to see an "ambitious" person take the "low road" you speak of. The workplace is RARELY a garden of goodwill and camaraderie. In my experience, it is USUALLY the proverbial snake pit. So better watch your step (and your back). Whew! Did I just rant?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

A little bit more effort and you could easily make top spot for my recomendation dumbest post of 2008. Something to be proud of eh? Do you know what humble means?. I suggest you look it up, you seem to think it's a strange conflation of self-righteousness and servility. Does it strike you as odd that you are proud of not being proud. In fact you are proud to be humble. Humble is for losers, it's what people like you want from those they wish to subordinate. It's what priests want from their flock, and that choice of plural is by no means an accident. Kingdoms have been wiped out because someone questioned the bosses decision. Something tells that I know a teensy weensy bit more history than you do.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Remember you only heard one side of the story, and they weren't employees they were managers. :p So maybe it was natural for the to believe and to desire to run the show. A lot of the other management types on here like you seem to go for divine right.

dba88
dba88

Don't be so ready with those guesses! You surmise incorrectly. I do have the deep, hands on knowledge as well and love to teach. I will also mentor when the occasion calls for it and have others act as my mentor, also when there is a need to do so.

ginoclementi
ginoclementi

The obligatory Nazi reference, that old Usenet law is starting to come into play here too.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I don't want to run the show, I want the show to run correctky and go on etc.

lacyda3rd
lacyda3rd

I guess this topic speaks for itself!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

A clue, Resolution does not mean I agre with you and all is well. I must be a failure because I'm not a manager. I'm incompetent because I'm not a manager. Yeah right, that argument just cost you my respect. Only someone who believed that employees were 'mere' could come out with it. I've a ways to go technical track promotion wise, unfortunately I've got negotiate past people like you, without losing my self respect.

guillenkma
guillenkma

You seem to enjoy the argument more than reaching any resolution. That's what authority bucking mere employees do. read my comments again and you will see that I never stated the things you claim. It's easy to rationalize why you are a mere employee after all these years. You have been promoted to your highest level of incompetency. YOU have failed!!!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I have to do what you say. Doesn't matter whether you are right, doesn't matter it's in your purview, doesn't matter whether it's in my interest, you expect. Zu befehl mein fuhrer. You should remember, you have no authority over me, but that which I choose to acknowledge. That acknowlegdment is based on your ability to manage me. So if I have to challenge your authority, YOU have failed. It's also quite interesting that you wish to equate authority with ability. You personally might be worthy of respect, not because of your authority though, but because of how you weild it.

guillenkma
guillenkma

Awesome and "spot on". Are you hiring, I want to work for you!

guillenkma
guillenkma

I concur with our comments and would only add that in the case of "brainstorming" and collaboration, it IS ultimately the managers decision. That's why they are put there in the first place and that's why they get paid the moderate bucks (weighted for inflationary purposes) :>) That said, a GREAT manager listens to their people.

guillenkma
guillenkma

It DOES work like that!!! As you noticed all my comments, save the "Coming from a military background" comment were directly related to business and building working relationships. Nobody ever said it was easy. Yet building a team either by 1) properly focusing a person that "Thinks they know it all and questions every decision" or 2) properly rewarding the ones that continually excel, all serve to get buy in from the TEAM, resulting in a more productive team. Of course there are many other team building efforts we could all undergo, yet I mention those two. Coming from a military background or out of business school, it is our jobs as Managers to do the "manage" the team, not employ our technical skills in every situation the team encounters. That's why we are managers and the team members are team members. It serves up more harm than good for ANY team member whether in the military or the business world to continually show diregard for authority. It makes the team confused, it is self promoting to the questioner and it absolutley reduces team effectiveness. I encourage ANY posters to contact to for further discussion. Now as they say on the MadTV skit REALITY CHECK, "That's reality check and I through!!!!

guillenkma
guillenkma

Business is NOT the military (thank goodness) THANK GOODNESS IS RIGHT!!! I wasn't comapring the military to business, I was only giving some background on myself. I could have also said that I have been in the "business" for greater than 15 years but I didn't. If you cannot observe two entities and make some comparisons about how they operate, YOU are misplaced. Business managers could learn much from observing the way the military "works". If nothing else, the military is efficient and highly productive. Managers are in place in both the business world and the military, they aren't necessarily leaders though. And in any case, the post is about the employee that "thinks they know it all and questions every decision", not a comaprison between business and the military. Save it for another posting. If then, I would be pleased to lift your level of knowledge regarding the similarities and the differences between business and the military. Be informed, be very informed.

dba88
dba88

The work environment, at least from my experience, in the US, is not a democracy. It's a controlled dictatorship in many ways! This is true to a greater extent in other countries. If people on my team are working against me, or if they're working in a way that undermines my authority, as a manager, it's my responsibility to get to the bottom of it. If I can't resolve it to my satisfaction, and it gets in the way of my way of managing (cuz afterall, that's why I'm there), making progress on the job and / or interferes with the general health of the project or work environment, then somebody's got to go! I'm there to direct them, and not necessarily to make them comfy. They, on the other hand, are not there to direct me. If they're making me uncomfortable, via the smirks, rolling eyes, hand signals, etc, and it interferes with the daily duties and responsibilities of the manager, either they're out, or I'm out. No ands, ifs or buts! The manager has a job to do and he or she runs the show. Flexibility and willingness to hear what others have to say is important, but that's not what the article is describing! The article is talking specifically about people who are undermining a manager!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

what this have to do with questioning managers? Unless of course you are trying to imply that a manager would never have their own agenda and always works for the good of the business. I mean that would be only slightly more crass than the idea that anyone's personal goals and those of the business automatically go hand in hand. Would you like to buy a bridge?

lacyda3rd
lacyda3rd

Excellent clarification. I agree 100% with the clarification between productive suggestions versus undermining innuendos that ultimately lead to poor team chemistry and escalates strife and tension in the workplace. This should never be. Of course, there are going to be plenty of opportunities when decisions do not meet eye to eye but it is in these situations that a team needs to collaborate their ideas to reach a common goal. If an employee has a grand idea, then implement it with the company goal in mind not for their own agenda.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

You are sending people to photocopier not the front line, and you don't have a court martial backing you up if they dislike toner fumes. I'm not being too flippant, I did a wee stint myself. The overmastering reason for not questioning orders in the military is simply that an order might lead to your death. In the military people die, allow the discipline to face 'certain' death to slacken, amd more people die. I can see why the background gave you the viewpoint, but be assured that people who don't have it will definitley not share it. You might get some bosses agree with you, but they'll be the perennial fuckups, who would have been cashiered or shot in the back by their own men, if they had served with the same lack of distinction.

runsweetride
runsweetride

Any comparison of the interactions between co-workers or managers in today's business world (U.S.) -- and the military is misplaced. Ever heard that joke about "military intelligence"? Seriously though, the problem is two-fold - 1)leadership that is inadequate (or simply don't know what they're doing) and 2) sub-ordinates who don't know the appropriate manner to communicate alternative ideas. As a consultant, I've seen this behavior in numerous "old school" companies, with entrenched, out-of-touch leadership, that does not allow junior managers and staffers present their ideas. The result is expected - disdain for the manager who is "clueless" and negative team dynamics. The answer is also two-fold 1)allow alternative and competing ideas, in the right place and time and 2) get rid of that manager who doesn't know what he's talking about.

guillenkma
guillenkma

Your quote doesn't apply at all. The initial post was regarding employees that want to run the show and feel they can challenge authority. It doesn't speak about smart employers or hiring employees smarter than they are. A great quote none the less. Here's another. "When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: admit it, learn from it, and don't repeat it." -- Paul "Bear" Bryant

IT Generalist
IT Generalist

A successful manager should have the vision and capabilities to formulate strategies to reach his or her objectives and communicate these ideas to his or her team members rather than getting hands on with the technology. Manager should know enough about how to manage the technology that would help a business achieve its goals rather than getting hands on with it simply because they are already to busy with their management responsibilities. In addition to serving as a positive role model for co-workers, successful managers must also be capable of inspiring others to recognize, develop, and apply their talents to their utmost potential to reach a common goal and should be able to motivate and keep high morale by recognizing each team member?s area where they can improve and challenged more.

guillenkma
guillenkma

CJ, I commend you for respecting your managers. I think your comment is skewed. Your managers CANNOT be technically "high end". At the point when someone chooses the road of the manager, they work toward being high end in management, that leaves little room for techie stuff. That's where your expertise comes in. You chose the road of techie, and there is nothing wrong with that, so your abilities SHOULD be technically "high end". Your manager needs you to be professional, extend the respect and fill in the gaps where their level is lacking. They will respect you for doing so in appropriate ways/times and you will likely get rewarded in appropriate time/money. Keep up the good work.

cjones
cjones

I feel like I'm exactly what the article describes. I want to respect my managers, but they can't earn it. Technically they are supposed to be high end, but their technicial abilities are lacking. This creates a frustrating environment for the worker. Many times in a scenario like this, those who have the most knowledge and contribute the most aren't given acknowledgement or aren't awarded as such. Eventually the employee will resent the employer.

Ivy Clark
Ivy Clark

Confident leaders who know their stuff have nothing to be afraid of. Team members who are able and willing to take the lead means helpers who can be trusted with ownership. Our previous boss was just like this. She inspired, motivated us and groomed us into strong team leads. Unfortunately, we got a new boss last sept due to a team restructure. This newbie is not as savvy in running a team, tries very hard to micromanage, discourages our leadership and talks down to us like we're all in pre-school. Our suggestions all fell on deaf ears as she feels she knows better. She doesn't listen. Basically, very insecure. She views our opinions as insubordination and negativity, even though we were only trying to help. Now, we've all given up. We'll only do what she says, as anything different is wrong. Our team was once seen by others in the department as passionate, strong and dynamic. We're not that anymore. Please, learn from our experience. Don't let your team fall apart like our has. Tap on the strengths of the leader(s) in your team as it can only benefit you.

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