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I’m serving my 2 months notice in my current company. I’ve worked here for about 3 years as team leader for 2 teams and (not officially) project manager for teams’ projects. All projects are for a single customer and in this office we do not have a manager above us.

Our direct manager works in an office in a different city: she visits us 2 or 3 times a year, she and I usually coordinate our projects through calls. She is very capable, gives us a lot of freedom and our professional relationships are very good.

The manager above her (call him M) works in a third office and is supposed to be the project manager of all the projects for this customer. M directly manages 4 teams and should also manage me and my teams. As opposed to our direct manager, M is rude, prone to micromanagement, extremely authoritarian, vindictive, imposes technology decisions without any proper technology knowledge, etc. Because of logistics (different offices) and practical reasons (customer in my city works only with us, customer in his city works only with M and his teams), M is not able to really manage us. This situation drives M very angry and M expressed his anger on many occasions.

My next job will be with our current customer and I will be the vice-director of the business unit to which all projects existing between my current company and my next company refer to. So I will have a position above M and I will “manage” him, approve his decisions, check the quality of M and his teams’ work, bypass him and talk directly to the CEO if I think it will be the right thing, etc. When he found out I’m leaving for this position, he phoned me and openly insulted me and more or less threatened me AND my teams. I simply waited M to finish and asked him if he felt professional and I closed the call.

I don’t care about M and his threats against me but I'm worried about what it could do to my teams. So my 2 questions:

  1. I’m 100% sure M will try to hinder my work in the new company: how can I prevent and/or correct this?
  2. Is there a way to prevent M to take revenge against my teams?
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'M' is worried, and he should be as you are going to be in a position of authority over him! Here are a few ideas:-

  1. Early on in the new job I would share some of your experiences with M with your new boss and indicate that he might be an issue that needs resolved.
  2. Make sure you keep a good record of all interaction going forward and when you start the new role keep your Manager in the loop.
  3. Arrange an early meeting with M and make it clear that you expect a professional and productive relationship, be willing to "wipe the slate clean" but also make it clear what you expect from him.

Good luck!

  • Really appreciate these suggestions. For number 1 could even not be required: my new boss (although he don't work with M much) already knows M and his attitude – Paulo Jul 19 at 6:42
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Didn't happen to get anything from him in an email, did you?

Without something in writing threatening you, not much you can do. Complaining to the CEO without something more than your word against his will likely be turned around on you. You'll just have to manage him. Play politics, and watch yourself around him. Don't give him a reason to find fault. Everything you do, do it well, and do it clearly. Spell out exactly what you need from, him, and put it in writing. If/when he refuses to do it, then you can provide documentation to the CEO.

The guy, for some reason, doesn't like you. He probably takes it as an offense to have to report to you.

Hard to say much more without knowing the specifics.

  • I have nothing written about recent threats but M behavior, bad attitude, insulting mood, etc. are well known in my current company, at all level. My idea to talk with the CEO was not to complain about M in advance, but (as you suggest) only after episodes that deserve it – Paulo Jul 19 at 6:47
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It’s a small world; too small to make enemies. M probably has not yet learned that lesson. In your new position you’ll be perceived as having the authority to change vendors if your current vendor delivers poor service or behaves in a hostile way.

Ignore this M guy until you have your new position. There’s nothing you can do to change his personality. And, honestly, he’ll mistreat people whether or not you stay or go. Sad, but true.

You can then ask the vendor (your old company) to be respectful of you. And, if this M guy harasses the teams doing work for your new company, that’s bad for his business. You can make that clear.

And remember, being kind does not mean you have to be weak.

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