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temporary replacement a non productive manager

By Netpro2551 ·
I am about to take a temporary assignment (about a month) to see if I can resolve productivity problems with a small field support team (7 techs)in a very large company. I was offered the team lead's position, but am not interested in relocating. The current team lead is reportedly a major part of the problem. I imagine that I will be seen as the hated "Pro from Dover".

I have been very effective in the past at motivating small teams although not in this short a period and usually from a position as a peer rather than a consultant. I expect that I will be empowered to retain the current team lead or replace him at my discretion and yet I know that the reality may be a somewhat more lengthy process.

Does anyone have any experience in a similar situation?

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Assess the problem

by brp In reply to temporary replacement a n ...

Realisticly it is very difficult to increase perfomance in a month, depending on what the issues are.

Assess the problem. It might not be as bad as you think. Fix the problem, not the person.

You must also commit your self to the project. if you are not committed it will make the situation worse, and that means your name will be effected. What the team thinks of you is irrelevant. You have a job to do, so do it.

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The problem might not be the person...

by aaron In reply to Assess the problem

Sometimes managers are not affective because their bosses undercut them.

I took over for a "non-productive" manager who was blocked at every turn from helping her people to succeed.

Whatever problems this person may or may not have had, that certainly didn't help.

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Frame your assignment clearly before agreeing

by curtis_n94521 In reply to temporary replacement a n ...

This is a tough assignment. You need to clearly define what can be achieved in the time frame you specified. Improving productivity in a month is not realistic, especially from a non power position, however, your assessment and insight of key issues would be a more realistic expectation. You need to approach this from a focus on process improvement, standards and procedures, and communication within the group. In this way you may be able to avoid being seen as a spy or some one not to be trusted, even though you probably won't be trusted by at least the existing manager.

And if it is already known that the manager is the problem, you need to ask, "...then why do you need me for this assignment?" They already know the problem and they just need to act on it.

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Sounds like an HR Issue.

by robertmi In reply to Frame your assignment cle ...

Poor performance is something for HR to address, with some technical input. If going in, you know that the current manager is the problem, then he/she needs to be turned around. If you are expected to do a slash and burn exercise (and the time frame suggests that is the case) then you need a clear mandate to be able to put the skids under the present manager and any of his team if they don't shape up. It always helps of course to get their perspective before making any decisions. In my experience there are more bad bosses than bad employees. You might just uncover a rats' nest in which case HR skills will be to the fore. Spend some time thinking about the wider organisational issues and be satisfied that you are not being used as a patsy to satisfy someone else's agenda.

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Assume staff want to succeed

by knudsenmj In reply to Frame your assignment cle ...

I've never been in a situation like this. 30 days seems a bit unrealistic to turn a team around but this is what I would do.

The staff are going to know something is up obviously, lay it on the table for them. Tell them you've been sent in to address moral and performance issues.

Tell them what your performance goals for the team are and ask if these are reasonable. Regardless of their answer, ask them what barriers are stopping them from getting their job done. You only have a short time so work quickly to show them you are there to remove barriers.

Keep a close eye on productivity, keep in constant communication with them to see what you can do to aid their workflow. After two weeks, have one one ones with everyone. For people who are turning around, thank them sincerely, for people who are not, make sure they understand you are holding everyone accountible to change.

For the remaining weeks do what you can with the non-performers. Most people will rise to the level of oversight you give them hoping that things will return to normal once you're gone.

If you have someone that is spreading negativity, take them aside and ask them specifically what they would like changed. If they won't tell you, make it clear that you won't allow negativity to stand in the way of the team's objectives and you need it to stop. You can't manage emotions but you can manage behavior.

Be sincere and praise (often) in public, counsel in private.

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It will take 30 days to build the trust

by SkipperUSN In reply to temporary replacement a n ...

It will take you those 30 days to build a trust with the crew - they could see you as the Headhunter coming in for the kill..

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Don't I know it

by Netpro2551 In reply to It will take 30 days to b ...

Yeah, I figure there is even a title for guys like me and it is something like THAT NO GOOD #$!#@$ THAT THINKS HE CAN COME UP HERE AND TELL US HOW TO DO OUR JOB. That said, I figure it will be fun to take the challenge and build the trust anyway.

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Cut, Copy & Paste

by FGI57 In reply to Don't I know it

I came into the same kind of situation, only my assignment was permanent. I used the cut, copy and paste attitude. I designed a plan of action and presented the strategy to the team with a serious, firm approach. I explained my passion for the job that I expect to achieve, if not exceed, any expectations.("PASTE") I stated that we could discuss their concerns and I would consider their input on how to make things better, but if anyone was not onboard with the program they could be reassigned or even "CUT" from the team. I "COPIED" anything that the former administrator had in place that was working well. I admit that I have not made many friends with this approach, but they know I mean business and that is what will make the whole team shine, not just me.

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Not entirely true ...

by colinwee In reply to Don't I know it

If you're working with techies, they might be much more amenable to you seperating 'people from proble', as one of the previous posters has suggested.

I previously had to deal with a difficult conflict between two IS personnel, and coming straight out with candid observations about their difficult solution plus my very reasonable expectations established a fairly decent playing field for which to get them to work closely without erupting into physical violence.

I think in this situation it pays to be sincere, ethical, aboveboard, honorable, and trustworthy. They will be able *feel* it!!!

Aim high.

Good luck.


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fall guy

by jjhauto In reply to temporary replacement a n ...

seen this before, sounds like the company wants a fall guy. If the current lead is what they think the issue is great. You don't need to show up, just ask for more dough; with no fan fare at all just have the company re-assign the current team lead to some other function, away from the team, appoint any other member of the existing team as the temp. lead and have that person make a list of what the team, as a team and individually, does for the each week. as this goes to the third week of your tour stop the lists, check how the performance is then report your job as finished. If the company has seen no improvement from this team then the problem must not be the lead and you could have another job to actually find out what the company expects and where the problem is. Certainly more than a month will be required for this type of effort.

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