The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

May 30, 2013

Managing a rival at work

QUESTION: I’m taking a new position, and one of my team had applied for my job. How do I establish a good working relationship with him, especially if he’s disgruntled?

ANSWER: Go in with an open mind and treat him with respect; however, set limits and expect good behavior in return.

There is a lot going on when you start a new role, so do all you can to stay grounded and steady. Start by getting centered, taking some deep breaths and letting any anxiety slip away. Take note of this process, and plan to start each workday in the same way so that you’ll be setting yourself up for an easier transition.

You may have been in this position before, either as the one promoted or the one passed over. What have you learned from this experience? Or what have you witnessed in the past from others? There are very good ways to handle the situation, but also some very poor examples out there.

Consider it also from his perspective. It’s disappointing to stay in the same role when you’re hoping for a promotion, so enter the situation with some compassion for him. Also plan to learn about the strengths he brings that made him a viable candidate for the role. Recognize, too, that he may consider you a rival and may not have come to terms with the decision.

In addition to dealing with this specific issue, walk in the door with a plan for learning about your new team and establishing yourself as leader so that your handling of him is consistent with your overall approach.

As part of your “getting to know you“ stage, spend one-on-one time with each team member. For each, you’ll want to learn about their vision for themselves in their work, the strengths they bring, the characteristics they like in a manager, etc. In his case, you’ll also want to acknowledge that he had pursued the role you now hold. Be open that he may be disappointed but that you hope to have a successful working relationship. Draw him out about his vision for the team’s direction and look for ways that your visions are aligned. Your best-case scenario is to enlist his support in moving the team forward.

As you move forward, pay attention to his adaptation to your management. In particular, notice if he is undermining your direction or otherwise expressing dissatisfaction with your leadership. Letting this go could be very damaging to team morale, and will also send a clue to others about your strength as a leader. Privately, but immediately, call him on any moves of this type, and be firm about the need to be respectful.

At the worst, you may need to have a talk with him about whether the team is still a fit for him; involve your boss and HR as needed.

On the other hand, if all is going well, be sure to continue to positively reinforce your appreciation of him as a team member.

Sometimes your rival for a leadership role can become one of your greatest assets; it just takes communication and respect.

Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Her company, Reyer Coaching & Consulting, offers services for organizations of all sizes. Submit questions or comments about this column at www.deliverchange.com/coachscorner or email her at l lizdeliverchange.com.

 

1
Text Only
Business
  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

  • It could be time for a career coach

    Need a little help figuring out your next career move?
    If you’re putting in the hours and still not seeing the rewards, feeling undervalued or simply striving to be more successful, it may be time to hire a career coach.

    July 16, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Turn to boss for help with disgruntled underling

    QUESTION: When I joined this company a few weeks ago, I discovered that the person who previously held my position is now working for me. “Sarah” obviously resents my presence and frequently says I don’t have the authority to manage her, even though I clearly do. Her negativity has made my job much more difficult.

    July 15, 2014

  • You are not trusted

    If it seems like employers don’t trust employees - well, they don’t.

    July 15, 2014

  • The Color of Money: Beware of loan-modification scammers

    There are some good things going on in the economy these days. Just like temperatures across the country, the stock market has been hot lately. The economy added 288,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent. Yet there are still plenty of Americans who need financial help, especially with their mortgages.

    July 14, 2014

Business Video
Stocks