I am the head of a technical department in a small company. I have been offered the position of the Development Director (our boss is due to be retired, and the new director should lead it through some transitions).

I have concerns about accepting the position - I am pretty happy with where I am. Some aspects of my boss’s is not appealing to me - lots of dealing with management inside and outside, dealing with the CEO which is a pain in the neck to deal with technical issue and etc. Also dealing with our software maybe a problem as I am not sure how they respect and follow the upcoming changes. I have been announced as the replacement by the end of the year with a transition / training period in place with a side note that they hope I accept.

I am trying to talk to different team members to get a sense of how they feel and what I could do to help the team and what are their expectations. This has resulted the IT lead to revolt, sending email here and there, reminding me that I am not his line manager, telling me and his team that I am not allowed to meet with them (which I refrained to do so). The gentleman also claims that he had a series of incidents with me and that I should stop asking his team to do things or insisting on things to do in my interests - as far as I can say these are baseless claims and mud throwing.

He has threatened to leave by the end of next week (he is on contract - which is something our CEO is not happy about - and by accident, his contract ends next week).

I feel not happy about this reaction and have a strong feeling that the gentleman will be a negative challenge to deal with. My experience has been that he is extremely insecure in his leadership and dealing with people superior to him (position wise or qualification wise). There has been cases that the ego and lack of listening resulted in the IT to not fulfill the job well (I did not even bring them up but recent reaction reinforces my thoughts and I see a red flag here). I do feel that the guys is taking the company hostage with this hysteric behavior.

So I am in a dilemma to what to do: I am sure my company badly wants me to accept the development director which I absolutely do not want it with this situation in place. I am happy to commit to shape things to make sure either me or someone else can do their job well with new organization but again this is an offer for help and not something I badly want to do.

There might be some behavioral conflicts here as well (maybe a factor): The IT head is 12 years older than me. He does not know basic ethics of greetings, cleaning the communal work in the company, does not join others for lunch, etc. Any advice and consulting on this is greatly appreciated.

  • 3
    I would remove a lot of the specific information you've provided, as you are likely quite easily identifiable by anyone who knows your company
    – user29055
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 9:22
  • 2
    And the problem if this person leaves the company is what? Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 10:25
  • I see no major problem. I think he knows his job when it comes to development and writing software (syntax / writing unit test / and refactoring). But I am not sure about problem solving skills and also the ability to listen and reflect. His background has been in GUI design and banking and not intelligent machines.
    – Kamal
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 12:15
  • Not true. He and his ability is a big part of my unknowns / concerns. I mentioned that: "Also dealing with the software has been a problem as I am not sure how they respect and follow the need to become one better functional team in the company."
    – Kamal
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 19:00
  • This question is extremely long and contains a lot of details whose importance is unclear. Stackexchange is not a personal advice site. Questions and answers are supposed to be applicable to other people than the OP.
    – user14026
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 23:24

1 Answer 1


General rationale: If a manager makes a decision, and an team member acts like that guy does, he needs to leave the team ASAP (knowledge transfer), by all means.

Talk to your manager, offer him to assist (e.g. by keeping back the announcement of your promotion) until they found a replacement for the guy. Pass all information which you think is essential in evaluating the situation to you manager. Suggest to offer the contractor a 3 month contract, search for a replacement behind his back, identify people in his team who are essential to replacing him swiftly and have crossed his path in a bad way in the past, and talk to them in a tentative way like "we may need Mr. X at another position soon, which of his knowledge/skills can you replace". Make a list of names which you think are loyal to him, and look for internal replacements (so that you can swap them to other teams if there are problems). Make use of external consultants in the transition phase.

  • I already talked to my boss, I think he badly wants the guy to stay as we are short staffed. He challenged me about some of the issues the IT guy was bringing up and suggesting that I am making a big noise about the need to discuss with people and if it was him he would accept the position. I understand him as he wants to be our parents. I challenged him that if there are a list of incidents with me our IT lead had to bring it up in due time and just start trash talking. I will talk with our CEO and will share my reflection about concern of our IT lead (the IT guy cc'd him in all emails).
    – Kamal
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 12:26
  • 2
    Yes, i got that, and that is why I would recommend to give it a few more months. OTOH if you are short staffed, you cant afford to loose people on the long term because they get the impression that behaving nonprofessional and irresponsible and then blackmailing the management brings you anywhere.
    – Sascha
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 14:34

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