Supervising the “I should’ve had your job” employees
This supervision challenge is one that is very difficult to deal with, but must be dealt with early on during the transition into a new leadership role. This challenge is not limited to the situation of an hourly employee promoted to a front-line supervisor-this supervisor challenge is even more difficult to deal with the further up the corporate ladder one travels.
In many organizations today, the upper-level leadership roles are few and far between; therefore, competition is stiff for promotional opportunities. In some cases, the employee who failed to get promoted will begin a campaign to discredit you, thus trying to prove the organization made a “mistake” in hiring you instead of granting him/her the promotion.
Four tips on how to manage the “I should’ve had your job” employees:
- Acknowledge the behavior being demonstrated by the employee who didn’t get the job. Recognize that a certain amount of jealousy is natural; however, if damage is being done to your credibility (e.g. “back stabbing”)-handle it immediately. Provide feedback about behaviors you’ve observed, explain the changes in behavior that must be made, and the consequences if behavior does not change.
- Ask for feedback from peers to maintain a “pulse” on your perception within the operation. Ask open-ended questions such as, “Fred, what is your perception of my skills since I’ve taken on this new role?” “Specifically, what do you think my strengths are and what do you think I could improve upon?” “The reason I’m asking is because I understand there have been a few rumors floating around the office about my abilities in taking on this new role. I value your opinion, but also I’d like to ask if you have heard anything specific regarding my abilities as a supervisor.”
- Talk with your boss regarding how you are handling the employee who wanted your job. Explain that you are providing feedback and handling the situation, but that his/her support may be needed if disciplinary action steps must be taken to correct the employee’s behavior.
- Don’t run directly to the boss to have the boss intervene. And, hence, fight your battle. It will only complicate matters. Being a leader means dealing with confrontation. That means YOU must demonstrate good leadership (and assertiveness) by confronting the individual who is resentful about not getting the job.
–Natalie Ivey, President & CEO
Results Performance Consulting, Inc.
Natalie Ivey is President & CEO of RPC, (www.rpchr.com) a Boca Raton-based company that helps employers manage, train, and retain employees. Ms. Ivey is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and has more than twenty years of leadership and HR experience with Fortune 500 organizations.