Friday, January 25, 2008

Sometimes being a leader sucks!

Today was one of those days...

Had to tell someone's boss that they needed to be removed from my project because i just couldn't trust him and didn't want to work with him any longer.

I was really, deep down mad at something that happened on my first day on site when I walked in on him and someone else gossiping and bad mouthing me. The person he was talking to was in a position of leadership and could actually effect my employment. You and I both know damn well that she wasn't the only person that he was bad mouthing me to. What a shit way to start a new project!

We had a sit down talk that day, shook hands and moved on....

Only we didn't...

We've had major communication problems and things have gone from bad to worse until today, I had the opportunity to speak with his boss and just flat out told it like it was.

He needs to go.

His boss did try to help the situation by saying "can we just all have a meeting and get an attitude adjustment and work it out or are you at a point that you're done".

I thought about it for a second, and said, no, you know this point, I just want him gone.

Not very "nice" and not very politically correct...but damn, I just HAD to do it...

Worse thing I've ever had to do....Feel sick and feel like crying all at once.

Then, the other part of me says, he tried to set me up to look bad and to get fired. The hell with that...He's got to go!!

It's kinda funny cause the other person thinks I report to her. But I don't. I report directly to the VP in charge of all the division and I've told her everything. Luckily, she said she'd fully support me in my decision.

Can not believe I just did that..........but, I think it was the right thing to do.


  1. Way to go!! 7 years ago I lost my job (in part anyway) because I did not fire my administrative assistant who was undermining me. You did it right!

  2. Thanks KB!
    You know, the thing is that I could never really be sure if he was sabotaging me, or making honest mistakes.

    My guess is that he had already talked to his manager though, cause I didn't bring up the topic.

    I said the comment I'm pretty sure she (the woman he was talking to) wasn't the only one he was bad mouthing me to. His boss said "no, she wasn't"...

    I also said I felt like he had his own personal agenda instead of the team's agenda in mind, and the boss said "yeah, he definately has a personal agenda..."

    Thanks for the encouragement! It's very helpful! Tonight, I need to send off a note to the boss officially requesting he be removed. ugggggh...

    gonna do it though...

  3. Laura, sorry to hear about the mess, but I think you have a responsibility to address such a problem head-on while keeping it professional.

    Depend on the contrast in behavior between the two of you to make the required action obvious to his chain of command.

    Even though you are in the right on this, its been my experience the desired result is not always achieved, because people are unpredictable. One makes the best of the situation at that point, but I have always operated on the principle that my continued professional behavior in such matters is the best approach over the long haul.

    Hope it turns out well for you. Let us know!

  4. Thanks Mike!
    You know, the crappy thing is that he's still on my project and still basically doing whatever the hell he wants to do. His boss backed out on what we'd agreed to and now he's still there.

    Nothing changed except that now he's busted and hiding more info.

    There's something about him I just can't stand and that doesn't happen very often to me. I don't trust him and want him off my project so bad I can hardly stand it.

    My "boss", the VP, is going to be in town next week and I'm going to bring it up with her. I just can't have him off doing his own thing on this project.
    I have a bit of "evidence" this time from a conversation he had with a manager on another project where he was asking for the financial statements and budget. (not his business)....she told me she knew something was wrong and then came to me.
    He just needs to go!!!
    Hoping my "boss" will support that and get rid of him.
    He's the one problem on the team. The one person who just doesn't "get it"...
    He drives me up the wall cause I can't stand him. The gal I work with says she can see it all over me whenever he's in the room...(that's not good, but I can't help it, he makes me feel repulsed some how) weird huh??

    Anyway...I just want him gone. The other PM said I need to look at my budget because "it may end up that you don't have enough money to keep him" (hint, hint)...

    She's in a position to help me out by, at the least, getting him cut down to 20 hours on my project and 20 on someone elses.

    Ugggggggggh. This is a huge project which is 6 months delayed and drives an even bigger project which I suspect I'll be leading as well in a couple months. I can't afford to have to worry about this guy!!

  5. Corporate America's matrix management theory really causes a lot of problems for project managers.. your post is a good example of one of thoe problems.

    Depending on the person working on your project there are a few strategies in dealing with "problem team members". You have already gone with the talk with their manager route.. to no avail.. on this route you could of course escalate through your management chain.

    Another route would be to bring the customer into the mix.. probably not the best one.

    You could also change the project reponsibilities of the team member. This is really the most effective route because you have control over the project and can put the team member on unimportant short fused activities that are not critical for the projects success.

    Just a few ideas.

    Cheers, Bob

  6. KB -
    You're right about the matrix organizations.

    I've done all the things you've suggested. Got his mgt. team on it, my mgt. team on it, the client and have taken away responsibilities from him. He still goes off and does his own thing though. Irritating the crap out of me!

    The thing is there can only be one leader on a team so that the team can move in one direction together. Only one of us can "win" and that has to be me or else the whole team will be split off in 2 competing factions. I've seen it happen too many times. It's best all around if he's gone...
    Plus, he's slimely enough to start playing people off against me in order to keep control.
    He just has to go!

    He's supposed to be doing the stuff like keeping issues logs and newletters and minutes etc. Not telling people "I have enough in the budget to pay for that" I want to shout..."NO, NO you don't have enough in the budget to pay for that because YOU HAVE NO BUDGET!!!! That's MY budget not yours! Quit spending MY money!"


    He just doesn't get that the best thing for him to do right now, is let it go, get over his big bad self and give everything to me, and focus on the things I tell him to do only. That way, if the project fails, it's all on me and he comes out looking like a hero. If it succeeds he looks like a hero because he was part of a winning team. It's a win-win for him but he doesn't get it!!!

    I was "him" at one point in my career about 5 years ago and never understood why the hell my boss used to get so irritated with me. I always thought I was doing the right thing and making the right decisions. Maybe I was, but what I wasn't doing was being a good follower. Can't be a good leader without being a good follower.

    Now I know that. ;-)

  7. I suspect he knows that he is getting to you Laura. If you can find a way to not let this get to you then maybe you will take one of his reasons for staying on the project. Either way, hang in there!