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Backstory:

Our group (IT) has been functioning well for several years with few incidents and none worth mentioning.

The problem: Recently, we've had someone from a different group, who is a super-user, and pretty far up in the food chain in his group, interfering with our operations.

Our own manager is fairly new and has less time with the company than "Super User" and "Super User" has been trying to throw his weight around due to fact that he is senior and knows a bit of what we are doing. He is technically higher up in the ranking than our manager.

While "Super User" is very competent in his role, he thinks (and acts) like his competence translates to our group, and our manager is tired of playing games.

Naturally, this has had double the effect on morale as it is affecting our manager and our team as well. It's bad because "super user" is extremely rude to our manager. I even heard him insult our manager to his face.

QUESTION

What can our manager do, or we as a team do, to stop the interference of a more senior manager from another department?

  • 1
    Related reading, specially for your manager: How to handle a coworker pretending to be my boss? – DarkCygnus Jul 5 '18 at 16:43
  • Seniority does not entitle someone to be rude. There is also usually the employ and the person, and both should not allow rudeness from anyone, be it a more superior or senior person. – Rui F Ribeiro Jul 6 '18 at 18:27
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    Can you give an example of the interference? Obviously his behavior is annoying and unprofessional but other than that what's happening? – DaveG Nov 13 '18 at 18:17
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+200

What can our manager do, or we as a team do, to stop the interference of a more senior manager from another department?

This is something your manager should handle.

If this person is impeding him from making his job, then this manager will have to discuss this with his own boss further up in the chain, so this person can come up with a solution and define those boundaries.

The part that the team can do is to keep doing their job the best they can, while also respecting that "chain of command" and be receptive to this super user's suggestions, but at the end of the day report and execute what your manager plans.

Having two heads can be problematic and affect your performance, it's best to follow only one.

  • 1
    +1. I've been in similar situations before. I think it's important to be polite to the other Manager and receptive to their suggestions, but also to be firm with them that your priorities come from your own Manager and that they can't simply dictate to you. This is an example of where a clear definition of 'roles and responsibilities' is important. – Time4Tea Jul 5 '18 at 21:36
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Your manager ought to escalate to the next highest level of management and request a clear delineation of duties for both managers. They need to define exactly where each of their responsibilities begin and end. He needs to demand that the other manager cease undermining him.

These steps must be done by your manager, nobody else can fight his battles for him.

1

Your manager has the duty to handle the interference, by himself or with the help of his own line manager. As you mention interference, one way to help your manager is to document incidents. Your manager will be able to use this information to discuss a suitable resolution with his own boss.

It is possible that "Steve Jobs Sr." is trying to demonstrate your manager is ineffective, in an effort to get him replaced by a friend, or by himself. Your manager might or might not be aware of this, depending on how much politics he has experienced. Documenting interferences will go a long way helping everybody stick to their own organisational boundaries.

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You are conflating several issues

  • You have a problem at the organisation regarding separation of interests / concerns. 'SuperUser' should not be in a position to interfere in the first place, unless he is part of your group. This requires opening a formal investigation into the structure and boundaries of operational teams, which is normally a board issue.

  • Your manager should open a formal investigation, following your organisation's complaint policy, due to the bullying nature of 'SuperUser'. Everyone has the right to peace in the workplace.

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