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Difficult CIO?

By andrewv ·
Hi Folks
I'm not a CIO but I read the columns here religiously.

I need some help with a problem: How do I get on with my new CIO? Lets call him Tim.

Tim came to us from our holding company. Very insecure, intensely sensitive about what people say and think about him, unable to support or back his staff, assigns projects and tasks to my subordinates without telling me, hates confrontation and debate, insensitive, indecisive, forgetful, puts subordinates down, reminds us of our rightful places, a keen political player, harbours a grudge.

And my attributes? Perhaps tempremental, straight talker, not interested in politics at all, concerned with our departments morale, get the job done, like healthy debate, concede and acknowledge a good point, kick hard against something that is not value adding. Ive been with our company for 11 years and NEVER had a problem with anyone until Tim drifted in.

Basically, we are fire and ice, and it's tearing our department apart. We cant meet without arguing. We have a tense, silent truce.

Any constructive ideas?

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This may not be what you want to hear

by j.lupo In reply to Difficult CIO?

but these are the type of people that need the most mentoring. How they become CIO's or CEO's or any executive management is beyond my current understanding. Their role is suppose to be one of leadership.

My suggestion, and I have been in this position before, is to have a 1-on-1 with him and keep it VERY professional. Ask for his/her expectations from you and your group. Get that in writing if you can. You also are going to have to learn how to play politics even if you don't want to. This is the type of person you have to coach from the shadows.

You need to protect yourself by getting everything in writing. Since "Tim" is new, sooner or later performance will show that "Tim" is an issue to the company. With documentation it is "Tim" that will grow into the position or end of leaving.

Patience and keeping emotion out of everything is critical at this stage. "Tim" may even be intimidated because you have been there 11 years and may feel you want his job. So, he may be very defensive about being the "new guy".

Good Luck.

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From President of Software Company

by tgraham In reply to This may not be what you ...

I am the President and Chief Operating Officer of a Software Company and from your description I would say that both of you need a bit of education about the ways of commercial enterprises. True, insecurity on the job from people in positions of leadership can be not only major distractions but can lead to lost market share while the two of you try to figure out who's on first. What needs to happen is that you both need to come to consensus regarding WHAT'S GOOD FOR THE COMPANY and adjust your behavior accordingly. Your CIO's FRAME OF REFERENCE or perspective could be a problem, however, your statement that y ou don't like politics shows a naivete that could be your undoing even if you're right.

I would confront your co-worker and try to execute a CONTRACT with him/her to come to an understanding regarding how we're going to work together. These situations sometimies requires a third party to mediate, me, being you, I would not let the current situation fester because you both could lose not only credibilitywith the rest ofthe team, you could lose your job if you don't fix your conflict creatively.

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I am guessing you are responding to andrewv

by j.lupo In reply to From President of Softwar ...

and not me. Hard to tell since your reply was attached to mine.

Your suggestions are true, but the issue has to be dealt with between the CIO and the manager first. Usually a one-on-one that is professional and that is for setting the working relationship must happen first. If a manager does not know what the expectations of the CIO are, then they can't start the foundation of building a vision of what's good for the company.

It is important to keep all emotion out of these communications. As to politics, whether you believe in them or not we all play them. Indicating that one does not play politics is still doing so. Choosing not to play is a role. I learned that lesson the hard way.

The important thing is to understand the environment and always keep your frame of reference on what is good business. However, in today's job market, we have to look out for ourselves too. Unfortuantely, I have seen too many dedicated people hurt by their companies after years of service. For example, at one company, their government contract was complete and they let everyone go including people who were only a week to a few days from retirement.

So, it is hard to maintain our own values and morals when we experience that kind of treatment from companies. Each of us (myself included) have to decide how we want to live our lives. We have to find that balance. I work because I love what I do, I want to add value to the organization, and I want to enjoy my life outside of work. I do not live to work, I work to live.

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What's Good For the Company...

by mquigley In reply to From President of Softwar ...

may not be what's on the CIO's mind. Sure, that's what should be on the CIO's mind, but no offense, a lot of people are only looking out for what's good for them. This guy Tim sounds a lot like a CIO I know (not at my org) and it's something new (and negative) from one day to the next. As long as projects are getting done (in the eyes of the CEO) it doesn't matter what happens below the CIO...not pretty.

I think it's naive to say the CIO in this case has the company's best intentions at heart when demoralizing his employees.

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How Tim became CIO?

by rashekar In reply to This may not be what you ...

Well, there are some people who'll easy come up to the level of CEO/CIO just by doing what their Boss wants. These type of people normally are Boss pleasers but are Dictators to their sub-ordinates down the line. As you've mentioned, the best to way to deal with such people is to discuss 1 to 1 about his expectations and act accordingly.

Cheers,

Shekar

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Office Politics: The Black Hole of the Universe

by Too Old For IT In reply to How Tim became CIO?

I think we can all agree that office / corporate politics is a total waste of time, effort and resources. Why otherwide intelligent CEO's allow it to fester is beyond me.

That said, a 1-on-1 is a good thing, tho I doubt you will hear something truthful like "I got where I am today by being a professional @ss-kisser, taking personal credit for everything my staff has done, and kicking to the curb anyone of value to the company who might have been a threat to me."

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Which is why you have to be

by j.lupo In reply to Office Politics: The Blac ...

very careful in the 1-on-1. Keeping it professional and trying to find out how the new "boss in town" wants things to proceed is what is important. Then document everything that happens and do your best to stay true to your beliefs.

I still think that even the "shmucks" can be rehabilitated given enough time and patience. No all of them, but I think it is always worth a try.

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Uncompromising Position

by NickWt In reply to This may not be what you ...

Best thing to do is take him out drinking one night and get him drunk. Take a camera with you and place him in uncompromising positions and show him the photos the next day.

You'll find that things will ease up for you.

Otherwise, to be sensible, do as mentioned.

1) Learn to play politics.
2) Keep and note of all his decisions/leads and do them with vigour. If indeed the man is incompetent it will show and as you are doing his bidding it wouldn't hurt to be 'over enthusiastic' in doing his pointless tasks.
Never be confrontational and loose your cool. Always hold your composure as its sign of maturity and will be noted by the necessary people. Be professional at all times.
And..always remember that people like that will always be their own undoing.
New managers also feel that they 'have to' make their mark so allow a settling in period and indeed treat him like a new army officer and be his knowledgable sargeant and help him to make an understanding of his new environment. It will help both of you in the end.

Else go back to my first solution

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I like Door #2

by too old to be IT In reply to Uncompromising Position

Hey, doing the stuff the new guy wants "with vigor" is not only a great idea, but fun. But please do stay within the confines of not doing any real damage to the company. I took my lead from a new manager twice in my recent career. The first was a real learning experience. He changed things around from the old comfortable routine, and by golly, they worked, and I really learned a lot. However, this is not to say that I loved working for him... he was a real butt, but good! The second manager lasted about 2 months under the burden of his own decisions, then dissolved away like the wicked witch of the west in the rain. I am now in charge, but hate it.

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Simple: suck it up or quit.

by imjasonn In reply to This may not be what you ...

I see people talk about meeting with him, talking to him, etc. Let me ask you a simple but profound question: If you were asked to dramatically change your personality to meet the needs of a subordinate, someone that quite obviously doesn't have any hope of reaching your level of success and doesn't make any sense to you at all, especially one that you personally dislike, would you?

Before you wash that question with forms of logic that will render anything other than a pure truthful response, the answer is NO.

He's political, connected, and a superior. If his superior valued you more than him... well, obviously you're chuck and he's prime - period.

You either need to suck it up, or evade his authority. This is the kind of person that destroys careers. His mistakes will damage your reputation, and his opinion will travel with you to other jobs, should you ever have one. If you're going to quit, do so before you try to improve this person. Nobody likes a know it all. And, no management like to hear "constructive criticism" from underlings they dislike. If he respected you, he would solicit your opinion. He doesn't. Either accept your place and move on.

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