I am working as Technical team lead for a client. My client was happy with my work and I received good feedback.

We had recently started a new project. And we faced a few challenges. Because of these challenges the requirements underwent continuous change and changed our release dates. It creates a mess and it creates a little panic in the air. My client manager(To whom I am report) is always busy and left many things to me initially. Many times I requested him to look into status and asked him provide guidance. He looks overly and says that "this progress is good" and he provides suggestions. But recently I am seeing drastic change in behavior.

Below are incidents:

  1. He started reviewing few modules, raised voice and shouts in front of another team member and asked her about some of the things not being done. But when we met next day personally he apologies for being harsh and all his intent is to stress important of particular activity. Don't understand why can't he just ping/come over and tell me in a normal way. I would have done that.

  2. At another time in front of all team she announces that, "She is not at all happy with the work that I have done". And next hour when we got chance to talk about some thing he talked very sweet about all other things.

  3. There is a situation where disagreement happened with my team member. I know my team member is going in the wrong direction. When we talk with the manager, he supported the team member and discouraged me. Again in personal he agreed with me that specific team member is going in the wrong direction. After one month he fired the team member after reviewing his work.

  4. Recently when we are planning for team structure, he told me he is adding another talented team lead under me. But next day the new lead came to my desk and introduced him self as he is appointed as parallel lead to me and also he sent Email to all team members. But when I went to my manager he confirms again that he is part of my team and I am still responsible for his and his team deliverable. And he confirms that he will communicate to the team. That didn't happen. After one week I asked the new team member, what was manager confirms about my role and asked him did he received any communication from manager. He said no and we will talk with manager later. But nothing is happening.

Based on these things, my manager's behavior is weird and shady. I didn't understand what exactly going on in his head. And where exactly he would like to put me in the team. I don't even know that is my job is safe or at risk.

My question at this situation what are the methods and ways to understand my job position with my current client?

  • 4
    I'm confused as to whether it's a manager or client that's being "weird". But I'd just say that there is only one solution here - update your resume and start looking at new jobs. – HorusKol Sep 17 '14 at 3:17
  • Personally, it sounds like you are not actually communicating with your manager at all – Donald Sep 18 '14 at 0:43
  • Hate to break it to you, but if you cannot handle this level of chaos, you are not yet ready to be a leader. – Masked Man Sep 19 '14 at 10:01

Let me try to summarize. You are on a project that has more than the usual amount of swirling chaos. Presumably your client's superiors are exerting pressure about the project, how is it going, don't forget this aspect, oh we need something that we forgot to ask for, and so on. On two occasions your client has lost control and spoken sharply, even yelled. After each occasion you then had a quiet conversation where it was clarified that things are actually going well. There was even an apology. Someone who you thought was wrong was fired, presumably at your suggestion, and later replaced. The replacement thinks "I'm a parallel lead" but the client tells you this isn't so.

I don't really see much weird here. I see stressed people on a difficult project. The calmer you can stay, the better. Next time that client starts yelling, remember that often, those words get "taken back" later, so stay calm. Try to focus on "what help do you need right now?" and other supporting responses. Remember that this client has "had your back" throughout this project: isn't blaming you for the churn and delays, took your advice about the wrong team-mate, and got you a replacement when many doomed projects chug along with less and less people as things spiral down.

You're a technical lead. Keep on leading. Keep working with the client and see if you can lead this project to success. Understand that your client is getting pressure from every side, and be someone who can be counted on to make things better when times are tough. Try not to use up time with "hey what's my title, that new guy reports to me right?" and other things that aren't vital to getting this project completed. Of course, if the "new guy" starts countermanding your orders and telling people to do the wrong things, you'll have to go to the client to make sure the project succeeds. But unless and until that happens, show that the work is what matters to you, and find a way to get the project done. Afterwards, when everyone is pleased, is a great time to discuss titles (and money) and your next steps within the company.


My question at this situation what are the methods and ways to understand my job position with my current client?

The only way to understand your position is to discuss it with your manager.

Talk to him. Explain that you want to do your job to the best of your abilities, but you are confused. Ask where you fit into the team.

Keep asking questions until you understand.

  • 2
    He seems under stress and things are slipping. You can help him by asking very specific questions (maybe including suggestions) that he can quickly answer. – user8036 Sep 17 '14 at 12:16
  • 1
    Could be any number of things causing it. Anything from unhappy with you performance, to stressed about deliverables, to being off his bi-polar meds. Only asking will answer this. – Jared Sep 17 '14 at 14:10

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