What's your problem?

CONSTANTLY OVERRULED BY MY BOSS. I am responsible for a team of five project managers in our consultancy The problem is that my ultimate boss overrules most of my judgments.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

She's reluctant to trust us to get on with things, and often interrupts our weekly meetings, overturning our decisions. It's causing difficulties for my team, who never know if my word will be final, and it puts me in a difficult position. I don't believe her decisions are necessarily better than mine, she just has to have her say.

You mustn't let this continue. Not only will your team become increasingly confused, but you'll soon begin to lose confidence in your own decisions - which will only serve to confirm your boss in her need to continue her backseat driving.

Ask to see her privately. Keep indignation levels low. Say you believe that people are worth their salaries only if they can be trusted to get on with things for long periods without supervision: that's what delegation is all about and how you would like to be judged. Suggest an experiment.

For the next four weeks, she allows you to run your own team, make your own decisions, correct your own errors, with absolutely no interference unless at your request. At the end of that month, you and she get together.

Entirely openly, you review together every one of your significant decisions.

If she agrees to this plan, and discovers that you seem to have done pretty well, your problem should be largely solved. On the other hand, you may discover that her views and yours are still apparently incompatible - in which case you need to agree that it's in both your interests to establish different lines of authority.

Please address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: Management Today, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP. Or e-mail: management.today@haynet.com Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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