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I have recently started a new job, where I am now in essence the Supply Chain Manager for a small company that has several locations across my province (Canada). Two of the people that work for this company applied for my position. One of whom, took the approach "what can I learn?" This is good. It is the other employee, who is causing issues.

Background on my history with this employee:

She is quite a bit older than I am (13 years older), has been with the company for 2.5 years, was hired as the Admin. Assistant and ended up spending the past 18 months assisting my predecessor with his responsibilities.

Now, the company wants to take a new (more quantitative) approach to their Supply Chain, hence my hire as that is my direct background and I have done what they are trying to do in two different firms now, despite being relatively young.

Additionally, she is not a direct report - she is kind of on her own reporting to the Branch Manager of my location (I report to the CEO and my team is spread across most of our locations).

Problems with the employee:

Since starting, she has tried to position herself as "my replacement when I am not here."

Additionally, she takes her time on the simple things (like ordering office supplies, as per her responsibilities), or failing to be able to assist in simple tasks that I give her.

These failings have led me to believe she doesn't have the understanding needed to help in the more intricate dealings of purchasing and logistics, as she doesn't show a drive to figure out the reason why things occur and determine a solution.

Instead she frequently takes the easy route (e.g. adjusting inventory before verifying it wasn't missed when the order was picked, etc.).

An attitude like that will compound problems, and make year end a nightmare - something I have been told to assist in changing and streamlining.

My problem/question:

I truly believe that she is a capable person, but she does not have the drive to learn how to use quantitative analysis for supply chain management or inventory control. Her go to phrase is, "I'm bad at math."

Recently, while away from work for a personal matter, she added to some documents for an external company that has my name on it, and when asked not to do that she responded with, "Ok, whatever."

I want to build a good, functional, working relationship with her. However, I am puzzled as to how to go about it. She seems to be either wilfully unwilling to learn and build, given the mandate I have been openly given by the Regional Manager - or just resentful that I got the job (despite being far more qualified and capable than she).

I am looking for solutions that are not of the "she gotta go" variety, as to me that is a last resort. Any thoughts or suggestions as to how to build the relationship we need?

  • @JoeStrazzere, yes when I worked in China I had 4 direct reports, and 500 non-direct. I have tried to set clear expectations with her, however as she does not directly report to me my suggestions and comments are falling on deaf ears. – Crosbonaught Jan 24 at 19:26
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    @OP I proposed an edit to your question and title to hopefully make it a bit more 'accessible' as it was being downvoted but I think it's a good question! You or someone with enough 'rep' can approve the edit or roll it back as the case may be. :) – seventyeightist Jan 24 at 20:30
  • I truly believe that she is a capable person... Can you explain why? If you tell us what’s currently working, what she’s doing right, or where she shows promise, then that might be a good starting point. – BSMP Jan 25 at 4:02
  • @BSMP, this belief is more fom what she does in her personal life. She coaches an award winning soccer team, is going to school while working part time and is all around a decent human being. However, when it comes to the question at hand she isn't meeting the expectations. – Crosbonaught Jan 28 at 16:56
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If she does not do her work correctly, and her lack of correctness is affecting your ability to do your job, then you should take that up with her manager. For example, if she is not verifying missing inventory before taking it out of the system, then her manager should know that. If she is signing your name on things without your approval, her manager should know that. If she is forging documents by editing them after they've been signed, then her manager should know that. These are problems that are outside of your scope; even though they are affecting you in particular, they are also affecting the company more broadly, and someone in a position of direct authority should know about it.

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Work with your manager to define the roles of the people who will help you achieve your objectives. Those requirements should be reachable by the other report, even if training will be needed. if the problem employee refuses training and does not reach the standard the team will have soon, then you have given her a fair chance and should not feel guilty in transitioning her.

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    I think he meant "your manager", not "your anger", although it definitely does read like a Sith Lord treatise. – Ertai87 Jan 24 at 19:32
  • I fixed the text. – Monoandale Jan 24 at 19:50

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