Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What to do when you disagree with your lead

Today, one of the leads (I will call him Thomas) that works with me came into my office and asked for some advice. His manager at the customer was having a lot of issues with managing the whole team in their very hectic, fast paced environment.

Thomas' teammates had talked to him today to express their frustration on how things were going. There is obviously something that has to be done, but what? Thomas was very frustrated with his manager as well and wanted some advice on how deal with the situation.

This is always a difficult situation, and I wasn't sure how to handle this myself either, but asked him to do write me an email explaining the issues Thomas and his team were having. I asked him to outline what actions he thought was hurting the team. I mean actually causing confusion, wasted effort, regressions, resentment etc. Not just management styles that he disagreed with because they were different. Once I have this email, and Thomas' thoughts articulated on "paper" we can discuss the next actions.

I also told Thomas that you are smart, we trust you, and you are empowered to try and make changes at his level before I got involved. That being said, voice your disagreements in a courteous, professional manner, and don't get into a disagreement in front of the team. We don't want to diminish the manager in front of the team.

Sometimes being a good leader also means being a good follower.

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