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I joined my current company a year and a half ago and I've had the same manager since then. My manager has been stressing out in our one-to-one meetings that I am not performing adequately, even though both my team colleagues and colleagues I've worked from other teams, both in our location and other locations within the company have been pointing to me, in person and via emails, that my work is outstanding. I reached the conclusion that the personal relationship with my manager is influencing my manager's view of my work. The one-to-one meetings have become increasingly stressful and I concluded this is not going to improve.

I recently approached the leader of another team in the same department to see if I could transfer to this other team (i.e, team B). Team B recently had a member departing of the same grade as me in team A, and I had a meeting with the team's B leader to ask him if he would take me in his team. The first thing he said is that he recognized my name was mentioned in all "high impact" projects in the department, which he appreciated. He asked me if I had mentioned this idea of moving laterally to my current line manager and I said I didn't. Still haven't. I said I would like him to think about the idea, and he said he was positive and would think about it.

It could be that both line managers have talked about this, but haven't mentioned anything to me. I would like to know what is the best way to approach my current line manager about the idea of me moving to team B.

Should I mention it in our next one-to-one meeting? Should I ask for a meeting between the three of us? What should I say?

  • The leader of team B told me that intra-departmental transfers are not a problem in the company, and he cited an example where he welcomed a new member of his team that started working under someone else's management when that person joined the company. In this example, this person was recently promoted with the sponsorship of this same team leader B. – 719016 Sep 3 '14 at 21:31
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    Could you talk to someone who has transferred before and get the perspective from them on how it worked out? What you won't hear about are transfers that didn't happen. Even though Manager A may not like you that doesn't mean they will willingly lose you, and Manager B may not want to alienate/burn bridges with Manager A. Politics comes into play. – TechnicalEmployee May 26 '16 at 16:22
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I wouldn't expect Manager B to have directly mentioned it to Manager A. My recommended line of action would be as follow:

  1. Check the internal procedure concerning internal transfer. In particular you are looking for any form to be filled or anything formal. Once you have the information however, NEVER MENTION those policies as it might freak out either or both manager (it's one thing to know and follow the rules but another to quote them in any discussion).

  2. Ask Manager B if he has though about it and if you can mention to your current boss.

  3. Mention to your boss that you have a particular interest in the activities of team B and ask him if you may enquire regarding any opportunity there. If he says "no" or "wait", I would bring it to HR, pointing out his unsubstantiated reproach, increasingly intimidating 121 meetings and obstruction to lateral move. I am assuming that HR would try to facilitate a win-win outcome rather than have an acrimonious stalemate.

  4. Assuming you have Manager A blessing, contact Manager B and tell him that he can initiate the transfer.

I would avoid to have a three-way meeting at all cost as Manager B would resent having to take side and risk undermining Manager A.

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Ask the manager of Team B if he'll take you in. You need either a "Yes" or a "Yes, but talk to your manager" answer from him. You can't afford any ambiguity.

Once you're certain that the manager of Team B wants you in, make an appointment with your manager and tell him that you want to move to Team B and that they are ready to receive you.

Play it by ear.

In the meantime, check with HR about the proper procedure for a lateral transfer. Especially the part of the procedure where your manager is either waffling on giving consent or denying it.

  • Should I try to force a "Yes" from the manager of Team B if he asks me to talk it over with my current manager? – 719016 Sep 3 '14 at 21:33
  • @user19012 I wouldn't force it out of him but I would explain how badly I need it out of him because I need the confidence that I am welcome to be on his team before I talk to my manager. – Vietnhi Phuvan Sep 3 '14 at 21:52
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In my experience, when an employee of one manager (A) approaches another manager (B) about something like this, B will mention it to A. The only time I haven't seen this happen is when the employee expressly asks B not to, or if A is well known to punish subordinates for this kind of discussion.

Before you talk to A, consider re-framing your approach. Sure, you and A have been working together for a while, but should that preclude you getting experience in more than one area that your company services? I have seen many good employees move among a number of organizations in order to get a better feel for how the company operates and what it does. Many larger companies actually have well-funded programs for this specific purpose. I would suggest you frame the discussion around this purpose and use that to gain your manager's support. Politically, that will serve you better than bringing up any issues you're currently experiencing.

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