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

Forbes 10 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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