I am in a new management position. Among the many new people I deal with is another manager who goes to my boss instead of talking to me about things in my department. I’m waiting for the manager to say something. I don’t know him well and I don’t like confrontation. What do you suggest?
–New at Managing
Dear New at Managing:
Confronting someone does not have to be an “in your face” communication. It simply means you have reason to bring up an issue face to face. You need to find a comfortable way of doing this because:
There will be always be issues someone disagrees on.
Part of your job is to help others develop, so you need to set good examples.
Your boss will begin to question your abilities. Plus, she’ll get tired of handling your job.
If you leave it up to this manager to say something, you’ll be waiting forever. It’s not a problem for him. He’s getting what he wants by going through your boss. Look at your dilemma like you would any project. Write out your goal-which, in this case, is to build a good working relationship with this manager.
Then describe what a good working relationship looks like. It might include talking once a week about issues that affect you both, then leaving those talks feeling informed and good about how you work together.
Next, list the steps you need to take to meet your goal. This would include:
Initiating a talk with him. Ask his opinion of how things are working between you and if there are concerns. Tell him your expectations. Together, agree on how you’ll be partners.
Getting to know him. Take him to lunch and get to know him. It’s hard to ignore someone when you have a relationship with them.
Asking others who know him for insight and tips on how he functions and what he’s like. This can help you when you have your talk.