Friday, April 23, 2010

Stop stepping on my dang toes

I'm always pretty vague about my job on my blog, and Twitter. Its mostly in the interests of keeping my identity equally as vague, because this is supposed to be a place to blow off steam about people that wouldn't appreciate reading it about themselves.

I also don't need to be that chick that gets fired for her blog. Because seriously. SERIOUSLY.

That aside, work has become a hot button topic for me lately. We're going through one heck of a growing pain right now. The bar-like/pub-like business I work for is on the campus of my school (hence the vague), and is run by a combination team of a full time adult manager as well as a few assistant managers, and student assistant managers. The student management changes annually, because many of the managers are upper year students and upper years have a tendency to...yknow, graduate.

I have been promoted to student manager. This is a new position. Previously, it was a team of assistant managers, and none of them outranked each other. I now outrank them all; head of the house, so to speak. (It is a team of 8 that will be under me, if you're curious). The problem right now is that the student AMs that have been my superiors since September are now my inferiors. I didn't just jump one level up and become an equal...I'm their boss now. Awkward.

Some are taking it quite well. The non returners frankly don't care, their days are numbered. However, there is one that is making my life difficult. She's the quiet type, and unaccustomed to power. When she was my boss, she barely had the guts to approach me, but now that I'm hers, she feels the need to...I don't know, test me? She's doing the passive aggressive shit, overriding my decisions behind my back, and I have very little patience for it, and I'm having a difficult time trying to find the middle of the road to deal with it.

I'm a firm believer in "Give an inch and they'll take a mile" in situations like this and I want, and need, her to know that this isn't going to fly, and I'm not putting up with her constantly undermining me. But at the same time, as a new manager who needs a cohesive team of assistants under her, I don't need to bring the hammer down on someone without a really good reason. Even if I really, REALLY would like to. Ahem.

And thus...the politics of management begins.

Any advice is actually welcome on this one, even if you haven't been in a similar situation. Sometimes, an outsider's assessment sheds light on something I didn't even see. So feel free to comment.


Marla said...

Hmmmm... Well, I've never been a manager of any kind, so I don't have any real advice.

Could you kill her with kindness? When she goes behind your back and does the opposite, approach her and act like you think it was an honest mistake. Make her feel foolish and like a jerk.

Good luck. :)

Marla @

Samantha said...

I think the best idea in these situations is to schedule a time to sit down together and just bring up what you're feeling.

Be kind, but honest "You sure are making me my job hard, which makes me think YOU must not be happy either, is there something that could be done to make us both happy at work?"

For one, if she is just being petty it may embarrass her so much to know you noticed her bullshit that she just stops, or you two may be able to work something out.

I've managed my peers for years and find this to work pretty well with other women.

Good luck! You're in a bit of a tough spot but you can do it!