So this was what happened yesterday. Laila and Mohammad (not their real names) are two of my staff. Laila is a junior staff. Mohammad is senior. Mohammad is the jaded, experienced, I know best, I don't listen, I am above you - type of person. Maybe it is due to age. Anyway, he has some problems - everyone knows it. All the other managers who manages him gave up.

But I did not. I try not to. Everyone has a chance and everyone has good intentions. And Mohammad does have good intentions. His customers loves him. He gets things done. He's self driven, aggressive.. his problems is just in people relationship.

Recently, there was a bout of complains about Mohammad from the team and from people in the company. In a spirit of improving him, I fed back to him.

As per his usual self, he was self defensive. He asked me for some examples and I gave him. With Mohammad, if you try to be tactful and generalize, he doesn't get it. It's difficult to penetrate to him because he refused to listen.

After the discussion, he approached Laila.. he asked Laila to tell him what happened! Of every examples I cited, Mohammad chose to ask Laila - of course I know why. He wants to justify to himself that it was not him. And who better to ask but Laila, the most junior, the one who will not argue back.

Laila, predictably, said no problem. This morning Laila was pissed at me for sharing. In fact, she was rather rude at me. I looked at her point blank and I said "Laila, you kept on complaining about how Mohammad treats you. Now I feedback to him but when he asked you, you did not stand your ground and instead claimed that nothing happened. And then you come to me be mad at me for putting you in a difficult position! You are pissed at your manager but you kept quiet when your peer confronted you. What gives?"

Anyway, since she didn't want to stand her ground and tell Mohammad how she feels, I told her to manage the situation in the future.

As I reflect, I sometimes think that I am too nice and my staff forgets that I am their manager. Or perhaps I gives too much flexibility to them. Maybe I need to micro manage!


  1. Good one, I like the way you told Laila about her not putting her stand , padam muka....I think you did well lor, u tried your part, and now both of them need to manage themselves ...For MO, he's still report to you, like it or not, you still has to find ways to 'tame' him. Last time I had many issues with those 'gurus'. They didn't pick up my calls, no emails etc... I had to find ways to win their hearts and trusts. For my case, I sacrified my time, effort to get them extra bonuses and income, included them in my projects and kickoff etc, the messages I sent to them was - we win/win work together to get work done in the most efficient way, and life goes on... since then, they started to pick up my calls and emails..... susah to work with those so called 'seniors and experts'....

    then one technical folk, just lacking people skills, good in technical. I found the best method for both of us , for all the meetings, presentations - I represented I-kei. Then I passed all the technicals to him, while I busy meeting ( wasting time in the room ) , he pula helped get the technical things done.... though I don't like to do this, but at the end, we both completed the project flawlessly, he's just not the 'open mouth' type person... I go with the flow , utilize his strength instead of argued and fight la, lagi pening.

  2. my usual response to then is get along, you come to work, not make friends or enemy. Be professional, do your work, then go home, everyone will be happy.

  3. ringgit .. you can be friends but at work there is a boundary. what important is you need to be objective. eventhough mumhammad is very defensive, ask him and understand his point of view, try to agree with him first, break the ice, then suggest a better way to handle next time. if you try to justify your point of view, i think you can forget it..he won't listen. make it a win win..let him win first, then cucuk him!

    for laila, in the first place, you need to tell her you are doing becoz u r required to as a manager. if she could not deal with it, ask her if she is capable of working as a team when she is being a sitting on bench rather than a participant. you want to fix it as a team and not just for her.

    my 10 ringgit comment is up! good luck.


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