A fairly simple situation, just looking for pointers.

My organization is fairly large but flat - have two managers who focus on career development of their appropriate direct reports (plus resolve project priority/chase funding/etc.).

Both managers are fine professionals and I generally have no personal preference. My manager (A) is more aggressive and wants to grow. The second manager (B) is more laid back and balanced.

Over the past year, I have developed a nice relationship my manager (A). He pushed through my promotion and a nice training package.

I have been recently reassigned to the other manager - as part of a simple head-count balancing act. The reassignment was based on technical skillset - the idea was to have members with similar skills report to the same manager.

I have found out that there has been some back and forth between the two managers over me. There have been some mixed messages from both (A - you still report to me. B - it is clear that you report to me, right?)

The general manager (manager of managers A/B) has scheduled a meeting with me.

I think I should stay impartial - that is, it does not seem to be prudent to play favorites and take sides by favoring one manager over another - but would like to show some gratefulness to manager A as well (promotion, training). What would be the best way to convey this message to the GM?

  • 1
    What is the meeting with the GM supposed to be about? What message exactly are you trying to convey (per your last sentence)? What exactly are you trying to stay impartial to?
    – dwizum
    Apr 20, 2018 at 17:37
  • @dwizum : Details are not known - except the GM meeting is caused by the friction between the two managers. Edited the last paragraph. Apr 20, 2018 at 17:49

2 Answers 2


First of all, this is not something that should involve you. In my view, a manager's primary job is to be "umbrella for the rain" (and you know what's raining, it's not water...) to ensure their team members are able to work productively and focus on their tasks, not on intraoffice politics. So keep that in mind.

Secondly, you have a responsibility to the company to work to the best of your ability. If this meeting is because the GM values your opinion, be honest about what options you think would make the company most productive. Often times, that means matching people with good working relationships. Other times that means taking leaders (and I don't mean managers, I mean lead-by-example leaders) and spreading them around to different teams.

Thirdly, whether the GM wants your input or not, make it clear that you want to know to whom you report, and that you want to know that they both accept the GM's decision. This is true regardless whether you have a say in the matter. Everyone needs to be on the same page because when you're busy fighting about who gets you on their team, you're not busy doing the work the GM is paying you to do.

Lastly, don't burn any bridges. Don't say bad things about manager B, don't lay it on too thick about manager A, and certainly don't piss off the GM. Be truthful and polite. (That last bit applies pretty much forever. Sure there are times to not be truthful, and not be polite, and sometimes even not both at the same time, but your life will be much more fulfilling if you're both as much as possible!)

With regards specifically to showing partiality, manager A should have been keeping the best interests of the company in mind. If he was giving you promotions for the express purpose of having a pawn, he was doing it wrong and you shouldn't reward that behavior. And if he had the company's best interests in mind the whole time, he won't have a problem with you doing the same.


It is in your best interest to have this cleared up.

Don't volunteer a preference. If asked just say "I can work in either department (say department not manager to not make it as personal). I would like to have clear direction."

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