I have changed roles in my organization, and in that process hired a replacement for my old role. 10 sales people report into that role, and that role reports into me.

The team have recently approached me, regarding the team morale and how they are not happy. it appears that several members of the team have decided to take advantage of a change in Mgt and start being late and/or sick. The New Manager is managing this well in my opinion but the team do not see or feel this way.

They are feeling attacked and unloved. Now I understand Tuckman and the stages of team development, but we are coming up on 3 months and the issues are becoming more frequent not less. I feel the new Manager is doing the right things.

Am I making a mistake in making myself available to the old team to complain? I have been telling them to bring their complaints to the New Manager as well as letting the new manager know there are issues.

I sit in close proximity to the team and I wonder if that brings issues for the new manager and ease of access to the old team

Would appreciate open and honest feedback on how to address this situation

EDIT - Apologies, I was not clear in my original Post, Obviously I do not wish to tread on his managerial toes, but I always approach tasks head on, so the first words from my lips are to address the lateness issues. Obviously those complaining are not those being late and I did not wish to step in and speak directly to those being late as that would undermine the new Managers position.
I have approached the Manger regarding the teams approaches and I have directed the team to him. I have been managing some time, this is the first instance of staying in close proximity to a team so I was interested in finding out if anyone had success in removing themselves from the situation or if there were other approaches

  • 4
    Just an idea - if "several members of the team" have an issue with the change in management, then perhaps you should also take into consideration the possibility of it being a problem with the new manager, not just because you have left.
    – James
    Apr 22, 2015 at 19:16
  • Just why do you need so many management layers? If you can handle the team's problems easily why does there need to be an expensive layer between you and the team? Management should be in corona times the first layer to get removed, as we need to work alone anyways so everyone has to manage their own stuff anyways.
    – paul23
    Sep 27, 2020 at 1:44

5 Answers 5


I think your availability and your proximity is causing issues for the new manager. You are too accessible and it seems that the team is trying to reinstate you as a "pseudo" manager by forcing you to continue to manage them.

It seems that perhaps your new person is inadvertently being undermined. I would at this stage stop making yourself available to your former team members and instead redirect them to their new manager. I would strongly recommend excluding yourself from any unnecessary meetings or direct contact with your team.

Your new manager needs to be able to make his or her mark on the team, and with you still being so close, it is making that very difficult. I would suggest talking to your management about relocating your desk so that you are not so visible to your old team.

If your new manager is going to have any hope at all of gaining control of your old team, you must be seen to be "letting go" of that team.


To address one point I neglected to earlier, if there are issues with the manager and his ability to work with the team, that also will become apparent if he is given the space to manage the team. There may well BE an underlying problem, but until you can disassociate your influence, it isn't really possible to identify what is the cause of the friction.

  • 3
    +1 I mostly agree here but I do not think the OP needs to move. He just needs to tell his former staff that unless the issue is misconduct they need to take the problems to the new manager and get out of the day to day running of his old team. Apr 21, 2015 at 15:42
  • Also, part of letting go is realizing that the new manager may need to make personnel changes. Let them.
    – NotMe
    Apr 22, 2015 at 15:38

According to you, the new manager is doing the right things but the team is feeling attacked and unloved. This is a situation that calls for mediation.

  1. Did you get to the bottom as to why the team is feeling attacked and unloved? How did this feeling arise and in connection with what issues? What is it about the manager's responses that they objected to, the specific actions or is it the manager's style? If you don't see any problem with the manager's actions, say so and say you would have acted the same way. A complaint that the team has about feeling attacks and unloved most likely originates with the manager's style but you need to ascertain that from the team. I have worked with managers who did the right thing but were brusque and abrasive.

  2. Confer with the manager about the same issues. Get the manager's version. Relay the concerns the team has expressed to you. Get the manager's response. Ask the manager to work out what about the manager's response the manager should change. One obvious suggestion is that the manager convey confidence in the team, convey it in tone and explicit language and convey it more often. The other obvious suggestion is that the manager confer with the team and explicitly lay out the manager's expectations. And that the manager believes in the team andas such, welcomes any feedback including questions and objections.

  3. Invite the members of them who complained back to your office. Tell them that you spoke with the manager. Express confidence in the team and back up the manager where you feel the manager did right. Tell them that the manager is taking steps to address the team's complaint. Ask them to keep you informed as to whether the situation is evolving toward some kind of resolution and accommodation.

I am giving you this advice based on the presumption that it may be worth it to you spend some managerial time on this conflict, if only to prevent an avoidable conflict and an unnecessary escalation of that conflict. Especially since, based on your post, I don't see any bad guys/gals in this conflict.


You're making the mistake of not telling them to get to work on time and that they should be ashamed of themselves for taking advantage of the change in management. After that, I doubt they'll be bothering you any more.

Unless it is some type of abuse accusation, don't ever take anyone's side over their manager. Cut off their complaint as soon as you recognize it is not an abusive situation and tell them to take it up with their manager because you're going to as well.

I noticed you didn't mention anything about decreases in sales or any staff turnover. I realize you don't want to wait until it is too late, but when people want to claim they're not happy because they don't get to break the rules may need to go.

  • Apologies, I was not clear in my original Post, Obviously I do not wish to tread on his managerial toes, but I always approach tasks head on, so the first words from my lips are to address the lateness issues.
    – R Read
    Apr 22, 2015 at 14:59

This is a leadership issue - if the staff didn't have any previous issues (you had gotten rid of the troublemaker before this) and new manager can't "rally the troops" so to speak, this is not a staff issue, it's an issue with the new manager. I'd remove the new manager before their evaluation period ends.


This sounds like a spin off of this question: How to prevent employees from escalating issues straight to the CEO?

I know you aren't the CEO, but you are a level removed from the people that are coming to you. The answer is only slightly different:

As they start to complain to you, stop them and say something like:

If this is a problem with your manager you should understand that I have full faith in Sally's abilities otherwise she wouldn't be in that position. I suggest you work out your differences with them directly.

If the employees still come to you directly, you take the next step:

Bob, as you're aware, Sally is your manager. We have a clear line of communication which starts with you taking up any issues with your manager. For whatever reason, you've decided to disregard that policy. So, I'm going to have Sally put together a Personnel Improvement Plan that you need to follow. Sally will conduct the review 30 days from now and we'll see what the next steps are.

The first time you have to go with that second step they'll absolutely get the message.

  • 1
    The second step will absolutely send the message that they should get new jobs as soon as they can. If the workers are unambiguously told that they can't bring up issues with a manager to anyone who might be able to help, on pain of a PIP, you can bet that they'll get the message that the company response to issues is "F??? you, that's why". Aug 14, 2018 at 15:08
  • @DavidThornley: If people are bypassing their manager to go to the next boss up the chain without giving their manager a chance to solve the problem then that is a serious problem and they probably should look for another job.
    – NotMe
    Aug 15, 2018 at 1:40

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