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Thread: INFP Manager - in over my head!

  1. #1
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    Nov 2008

    Default INFP Manager - in over my head!

    the subject says it all. last summer i impulsively accepted an order entry job that quickly led to a promotion when my intp boss and my entj exec decided i had additional value. fair enough, and thank you very much! newness is appreciated, etc. not to delve into negative details that have since been resolved, but let's just say the transition was not, it turns out, a good idea, and the resulting hostility almost did this infp in (grin).

    but i am not a quitter and working through the original error has truly taught me a lot about the importance of acknowledging seniority, anticipating executive agendas and perspectives that may not always be "whole" and my own extreme ineffectiveness in dealing with unrelenting antagonism. looking back, imitating or "using" my knowledge of EJ strategies might have helped me, along with practicing some detatchment.

    anyhoo. things worked out and have progressed, the bad transition is a thing of the past and my position now an accepted reality.

    i am posting this thread in an attepmpt to get feedback on a lingering team issue. i have an employee problem that i want to resolve (i originally typed "must") before moving on to a new position, a move that in the next several months is a strong possibility. this employee was the company target for a number of problems that occurred during a database transition that were not clearly understood, and because the company is smallish, does not easily fire experienced people and is specialized, her poor reputation, deserved or not, continues but is unaddressed, either via training or punitive action.

    after spending several months taking away functions that she could not perform well in order to restore her sense of confidence and give her an opportunity to experience a better reputation, i have decided the time has come to bring responsibility and standards back to the table - protection is key, but development is a must, esp where core job functions are concerned.

    my problem is this - she willfully does things she is told not to do, behind the scenes (via email) that undermine intercompany processes and trust. when confronted, she appears defiant but remains silent, no matter how gently or reasonably i present the case for NOT handling issues in this way. i encourage her to come to me with questions and to ask for help if she is overwhelmed - she frequently does her work too quickly, without careful thought, etc. But she persists.

    our relationship is better than it was and could be a factor, but it is my understanding that this behavior went on long before my arrival. knowing this, the responsibility i take in this situation is providing a solution - i have thus far failed to do that.

    maybe some EJs or Es's out there have some input? Certainly other INFP managers would be welcome - heck, anyone!

    my goal is to help this person past this behavior and to retain her because this company truly needs her experience. but this behavior undermines our team and our reputation as a department, and it needs to stop. any creative ideas?

  2. #2
    thankful Array PeaceBaby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    So you were promoted over your peers and this caused the antagonism when you became their boss?

    A few questions to clarify too:

    - is she a good employee - meaning, is her work generally competent? do you think it will become competent?

    - does she bring strengths to the table in other areas? team player etc?

    - is she late or otherwise negligent?

    - can you fire her? is documentation in place? have you been documenting everything so far?

    - are there other stresses in her life and does your company have a stress management program?

    As an INFP manager who used to have over 30 people report to me, my initial issue was being too nice and not having a process in place to foster accountability.

    Answers to the above will help me formulate some further strategies for you in this situation.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2008


    I was promoted prematurely - I had only been with the company for 4 months and brought one very necessary skill to the table but lacked the product experience. This defecit was minimized by the person who promoted me, and not understood by me at the time. I also took away someone elses role and did not know that person wasn't consulted or prepared - this is what I mean by it being handled very poorly.

    Though the move was supposed to help improve the group's performance, the antagonism and lack of consultation caused a nasty backfire, including nasty jokes and comment when I came into the room, flat insubordination and blatant lack of cooperation (No. I won't do that.). Because we were shortstaffed, I was not given permission to fire anyone and so did not have punitiive leverage.

    This individual brings an enormous amount of experience and a dedication to her job that we really need. I don't believe anyone is irreplaceable, but she is certainly valuable and worth an effort to retain.

    She is not a team player, but she is 100% customer focused. In fact, many of her issues seem to stem from an unwllingness to share her workload, leaving her constantly rushed, impulsive re solutions because she has little time, difficult to train because she won't pay attention and slow down long enough to absorb new information.

    Thank you for your response, by the way. I absolutely see this as a management failure on my part and want to address it. Not having leverage in the beginning was a roadblock but I have that leverage now and another individual with some respect issues has been moved to a more suitable position outside of our department, so the general atmosphere is much improved.

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