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How do you supervise your former supervisor?

By akumudzi2 ·
Wondering the best way to handle a situation where you now have to supervise a guy who was your supervisor. After having my position elavated, i now have to make most of the decisions on operations of the IT department. This includes having to give directives to this former supervisor. The guy seems not to have accepted that this is the new order of things and still thinks of himself as the 'decision maker'. He makes serious blunders whe it comes to decisions, and reasoning with him on issues always complicates things more. Anybody out there who's faced such a situation. Whats the best way to deal with this amicably?

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Odds are long

by amcol In reply to How do you supervise your ...

These situations almost never work out.

There can be only one boss, and from what you describe you have competition. It's going to create problems for you with your staff, your peers, and your management. Your former supervisor doesn't recognize he's "former", and no matter what he tells you he probably never will.

It's to your credit that you want to find an amicable solution, but the chances you can do that are very small. Rather than try to work things out you should be forming an exit strategy for him, something that will allow him to move on or out with his dignity intact and without making you look heavy-handed. You can't just fire the guy...that'll make things worse for you in the long run. Either find him another opportunity in your firm, or engineer some way to push him out.

Don't do anything quickly, because no matter what happens you'll be perceived negatively. This may take a few months to unfold, and the best you can probably achieve in that period of time is a reasonable detente with the guy in which he gets his work done within performance parameters and doesn't overstep his bounds.

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Get with the program

by gr6120 In reply to Odds are long

Get with the program or get fired Thats it you dont have time to screw around with this guys feelings or his ego you have a job to get done

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Have you ever had to fire someone before?

by kate In reply to Get with the program

It may seem like the easy way out, but you pay in the long run, when you lose the trust and respect of all your other subordinates, not to mention having to deal with all the legal traps. Resolving a situation like this in a way that both parties win may be tough, but it's what sets the "bosses" apart from the leaders.

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Not always

by JamesRL In reply to Have you ever had to fire ...

I've seen situations where a softness or reluctance to confront and ultimately fire someone has en the cause of loss of morale of the others on the team.

Being the boss means knowing that you have to approach every situation on its own merits and do what is right. Its easy to deal in generalizations like, never fire or always fire.


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by kate In reply to Not always

I think we may be trying to make the same point. My response was to the draconian "my way or the highway" mentality, but I agree that playing the situation too softly, or worse, avoiding it altogether has its own can of worms. In the end, you still have to be the one in charge and take decisive steps toward a resolution.

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Who has the problem, Maybe?

by entawanabi In reply to How do you supervise your ...

It can be daunting, can't it? So, let's make it possibly worse:"Is he also older than you?"

I've run into this and handled this in the following manner: First does he have MY more current education and did I actually communicate to him in a common vocabulary or did I use technese from MY educational backround he(they) may not have.?

Are my insecurities over this the problem?

AM I SCREWWING UP by not sitting down and telling him that HE is something I need to get used to because of our shared past and his Tremendous competence from my position then { and of course noe it is reversed and your afraid he will be offended or some such.

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Need to make the most of the relationship

by PeterSS In reply to How do you supervise your ...

I am in this position as well, having been promoted above my old boss. I treat him as a colleague rather than a subordinate - he has a lot more experience than me, so I try to make good use of it. We discuss his work regularly, and I use that opportunity to direct his work. We have a good relationship, which helps, and he accepts the reversed position, which is good.

Things are likely to change soon though, as there is a pending reorganisation, and one of us is likely to be laid off.

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Are you ready for your position?

by Me_Myself_&I In reply to How do you supervise your ...


you knew that when you got the job, this situation could arise. This is an integral part of management and the fact that you do not know how to handle this, could point to the possibility of you just not being ready for management. Normally a good company trains people for that or does not promote people who do not have the skills for management.
So, stop whining and get YOUR act right.
And just to be positive, get HR involved, log every issue with proper documentation, do a performance review, talk to the guy over a drink.

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Couldn't be more wrong, I think

by Mr L In reply to Are you ready for your po ...

Managing someone who used to manage you is NOT something that is likely to pop up in most careers and therefore not something that is the focus of management training programs.

Asking for input and opinions on ways to handle this is not at all a sign the OP isn't ready to be a fact, it is a sign that he is open to advice and feedback, and wants to handle this situation thoughtfully. Seems like one of the hallmarks of someone who IS ready for management.

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I agree with Mr L

by InfinityMoO In reply to Couldn't be more wrong, I ...

u hit it on the spot there man. your average 'boss' doesn't ask people for input, he just does what he feels is right.

This is a sign of someone that's a real leader.

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