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Troubled at work with people issues, pls kindly advise!

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Nu1
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Troubled at work with people issues, pls kindly advise!

Postby Nu1 » Mon, 22 Dec 2008 4:11 pm

Dear friends:

He joined his new position as senior management in new origination 1 year ago. Now he has issue with his staffs. Some of his staffs, esp one guy who has been with the company more than 14 years and controls all the sales management, always try to sideline him by directly report to my husband’s boss. My husband has told him few times by email or by meeting, pls kindly discuss with me before you contact with biggest boss. But he never listens, and continues to sideline him. On the other hand, my husband ‘s boss do nothing about it, and sometimes even told my husband: you should improve team sprit, more communicate with your staffs…

My husband is very stressed by this situation. He tries to communicate with this team, but this sales manager just not coordinate…

Pls kindly help my husband. As his wife, I am very stressed for him too. I know he tries to stay in the organization to support our family. We have two very young children.

Many thanks for your advice and help!

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year.

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Postby metroguy » Mon, 22 Dec 2008 5:11 pm

I had exactly the same problem with one of my staff, a local lady, who was with the company for more than 20 years.

My boss at that time, a local guy, let this staff of mine bypass me and go straight to him for anything and everything.

I had transferred her out from my department and eventually, I bypassed him and started reporting directly to his boss.

Sometimes Eye-for-an-Eye is the only choice.

Now, I am on-par with my ex-boss in terms of reporting lines and the lady is working in a job that is totally unrelated to her skills. Yes, still in the same company.
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Postby Bafana » Tue, 23 Dec 2008 12:01 am

Sack or transfer your husbands staff. He won't stop and will probably only get worse if your husband tried to handle this in a politically correct manner/.

Your husband is his boss and therefore has the right to get rid of him and your husbands boss will go along with the call as this is the right way to do things. If your husbands boss does not support him than your husband knows he should look for a better opportunity. in the least the big boss may chew the guy out as he will loose face by not support your husband and having to deal with the mess he is creating.

14 year means nothing - Not anymore.
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Postby ksl » Tue, 23 Dec 2008 1:19 am

Bafana wrote:Sack or transfer your husbands staff. He won't stop and will probably only get worse if your husband tried to handle this in a politically correct manner/.

Your husband is his boss and therefore has the right to get rid of him and your husbands boss will go along with the call as this is the right way to do things. If your husbands boss does not support him than your husband knows he should look for a better opportunity. in the least the big boss may chew the guy out as he will loose face by not support your husband and having to deal with the mess he is creating.

14 year means nothing - Not anymore.


I have to agree with Bafana on this, the best possible action is to pull him to one side and explain the conditions, that if he doesn't play the ball, then he's not a team player, he's got no other alternative but to have him removed.

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Postby Hactar » Tue, 23 Dec 2008 3:15 am

This discussion really makes me think. I come from a country and company with a rather flat organisation structure and very casual communication lines. From time to time I have gone up as much as 3 management levels up, if I thought it relevant for the issue. And this hasn't bothered the managers in between.

In my opinion, if a manager feels bypassed by this, he's not very secure. If a manager needs to relay his team's accomplishments to the next layer to get some credit, he's probably adding little value to the company.

I'm surprised that everybody is telling to fire the guy, based on his lack of deference, and nobody is wondering about his value to the company. For my own team: I want them to report to the people who need the information. If my boss is the one who needs the information; I say go tell him. And I am definately not going to fire a guy who adds value to the team, for failing to observe the right offerings.
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 23 Dec 2008 7:10 am

Good thought there. But one would still have to weigh the individuals value to the company versus the decline in value to the group if, because of lack of cooperation, the team's value diminishes. Sadly, this is a major problem in a lot of teams in local organizations. Especially those teams with a lot of local members. A lot of local members spend more time trying to sidle up to the senior bosses to somehow try to take all the credit for the teams work, without actually committing all that much. In fact, in certain industries it's a joke that if you want your project to stretch out, all you have to do is put all local engineers on a team with two or three co-team leaders.

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Postby Bafana » Tue, 23 Dec 2008 9:52 am

Hactar wrote:I come from a country and company with a rather flat organisation structure and very casual communication lines.


Agree with your post and wished more Singapore Based or Singapore Satellite Offices of foreign companies had the same culture but they don't.

The culture here is hierarchy based and as such this guys actions is not an attempt to streamline the decision making process by opening up lines of communication. He is either spying for his bosses boss or trying to under mind his boss wrt the big boss. This happens a lot here.
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Postby metroguy » Tue, 23 Dec 2008 9:53 am

I have no issues if my staff approach/communicate/work with my boss directly. In fact, 90% of the time, they need to and they do.

The problem mentioned here is the staff bypassing their immediate superior and reporting directly to the 'biggest' boss. In other words, this staff doesn't 'accept' his manager as his boss and thinks he knows better because he has been with the company for very long. So, he tries to make a point by reporting directly to his boss's boss.

As SMS pointed out, this is a very common issue in local teams. Most of the locals do not like to be managed by foreigners, especially if the manager is from a developing country. They don't mind working for a foreign company, but not for a foreigner.

I sat down with this staff and explained her how I want things to be done and she should be willing to adapt to change. I made it very clear that there was no reason to be insecure about her position in the department, just because there is a new manager. I actually valued her experience and the value it could bring to team if she used it positively. But it didn't help. She just went on 'ignoring' me. To make the matters worse, she started telling my boss that I was doing things in wrong way. It became too much to keep quiet and I had to get rid of her.
Last edited by metroguy on Wed, 24 Dec 2008 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Hactar » Wed, 24 Dec 2008 5:00 am

I see;

I haven't come across this, but I realise I have come across similar phenomena. I'll keep my eyes open in the comming time.

There's always a lot of backstabbing in companies; but the amount differs between types of company (at least back in Holland). High-tech Engineers tend to be less obsessed with it than other branches, I think. I guess the work itself is more of a fascination than climbing the tree for us. Maybe that also accounts for my lack of experience with this.
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Postby jfd » Wed, 24 Dec 2008 7:55 am

metroguy wrote:I sat down with this staff and explained her how I want things to done and she should be willing to adapt to change. I made it very clear that there was no reason to be insecure about her position in the department, just because there is a new manager. I actually valued her experience and the value it could bring to team if she used it positively.


I think this is pretty much the right way to approach the person. They need to understand that there is a proper reporting line, and they need to observe it. At the same time, the new manager needs to communicate that the experienced staff member is valued due to the time they have spent with the company, and the new manager could even suggest that the experienced (even if more junior) person actually guide them, and feel free to correct them, if they feel that something is not being done right.

After attempts to have the person report to the new manager have been made, and if this course of action fails, then the new manager should bring this to the attention of the "big boss", who should then enforce reporting lines.

I also agree that it is sometimes more effective and almost necessary to jump levels for some issues, but this should be the exception rather than the rule.

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Postby banker » Wed, 24 Dec 2008 10:43 pm

Hactar wrote:I see;

I haven't come across this, but I realise I have come across similar phenomena. I'll keep my eyes open in the comming time.

There's always a lot of backstabbing in companies; but the amount differs between types of company (at least back in Holland). High-tech Engineers tend to be less obsessed with it than other branches, I think. I guess the work itself is more of a fascination than climbing the tree for us. Maybe that also accounts for my lack of experience with this.


I agree this type of problem is not common among engineers. But I think it is common among operations, finance folks. I have been worked all these departments.
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Postby Bafana » Thu, 25 Dec 2008 10:35 am

banker wrote:I agree this type of problem is not common among engineers. But I think it is common among operations, finance folks. I have been worked all these departments.


Try construction engineering - Very common.
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Postby ksl » Thu, 25 Dec 2008 3:00 pm

I believe it takes a very experienced, and well qualified staff member in man management and organizational structure to sort this kind of problem out.

The hierarchy structure model is common to the UK as Singapore and less common in some european countries like scandinavia.

Having been employed in various kinds of organisations structures, from regimental to the extreme liberal flexitime working in Scandinavia, it is important to realise, that some people need leading, or putting in their place, we are all different in terms of motivation, and the reasons behind motivation, although a company's structure should be set to be followed, SOP's should not be seen to be good for one and not the other, no matter what structure is adapted.

The boss i would imagine, would certainly know what is going on, and it would be in his interest to see how, his staff members deal, with these situations, in the hierarchy model it is most difficult to break the chain of command, without warnings and disciplinary action being taken.

Traditions and new reform cannot be changed over night, and there would always be some employees, that would fight against change, depending on their cliche roles, that are being played in the work place, or their selfish own agendas.

No matter what, it does take an experienced man manager, with the experience of working under various organizational structures, to understand employee psychology, if change is going to be implemented, no matter which organizational structure is used. Standard operating procedures must be followed.

Some times for example, if an employee has been employed 14 years and feels resentment against is leader, he needs, a quick sharp reminder, that if he doesn't follow the organisation structure, then he would be rocking the boat, and that cannot be allowed, he may well be the top earner for the company and the boss doesn't wish to lose him.

There are alternatives to the solution, one must look at them and choose the best one that serves the purpose, personally I would invite the chap in for a one to one, to see if differences cannot be resolved. There must be a reason for the person jumping the chain of command, and its important to discover these reasons before action is taken to resolve the issue.

But most certainly SOP's may say a warning is given, before disciplinary action is taken. my saying is, even the hardest nut can be cracked, providing mutual respect is shown.

The problem I see, is most small to medium sized business lack SOP's, and/or a structure that that is workable.

Scandinavia like Holland have very liberal organisation structures when compared to Singapore or UK, and even flexi working companies, have their problems with employees, until they find the ones that are capable of sustaining the role required.

Team work is vital, along with personal care of employees wants and needs, remembering that one can give an inch, and they will take a mile, if not controlled and may well be industry related employee management structures that are best chosen to suit the purpose.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 25 Dec 2008 3:18 pm

Bafana wrote:
banker wrote:I agree this type of problem is not common among engineers. But I think it is common among operations, finance folks. I have been worked all these departments.


Try construction engineering - Very common.


Without a doubt. I'd almost be willing to say it's more prevalent here than other industries. Most of my background is in the Petro/chem/construction industries and I'v seen my share I can guarantee.

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Postby Hactar » Thu, 25 Dec 2008 11:14 pm

I can see that about petrochemics. In Holland I know that Shell is pretty bad. Hard to define what makes the difference between companies though. I don't know many engineers who went to Shell because they were interested in the technology. They went there for the pay and the career oportunities... I guess that is reflected in the corporate culture.

I'll probably have to learn the darker side of companies here in Singapore.
"Kings and lords come and go and leave nothing but statues in a desert, while a couple of young men tinkering in a workshop change the way the world works." - The Patrician (in 'The Truth' by Terry Pratchett)


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