You Were Fine As A Co-Worker -- But Not As My Supervisor

Forbes 6 months ago

Dear Liz,

I'm one of three employees in my department. We are all senior web designers. Two months ago our manager left the department to take a different job in the company.

They didn't want to hire a new manager, because all three of us senior designers are experienced and we work very closely with our client departments, so we don't really need our own manager. There wasn't a lot for our old manager to do, and that's why he transferred to a new job.

They didn't want to leave the department without any supervision or coordination so they decided to promote one of the three senior designers to Team Lead.

I didn't want the job but I was immediately worried because both of my counterparts are nice people but neither one of them has any management abilities.

They are both head-down, code-your-brains-out people and they don't communicate. The Team Lead job includes a pay raise so I figured they would both apply for it, and they did. Our Director picked "Mike" to be Team Lead.

Mike and I get along great. We've gone out for beers and pizza together many times. He's a great co-worker, but a horrible manager. All of a sudden he is super-interested in my projects and wants to know about everything I'm working on. He's nervous. He keeps asking me irrelevant questions about my projects and it's incredibly annoying.

I still see our relationship as a social relationship more than a business relationship, because if I really thought that Mike were my manager I would have given him a lot of truth by now. I would have told him to back off. I am trying to keep things chill. I don't want conflict with Mike because he's a decent guy and no one is helping him figure out how to manage.

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