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Advice Needed - How to deal with insecurities

Here's the situation in a nutshell...in our company there is an employee who is very motivated to better herself. The coworkers in her department, including her manager, are happy with the status quo, doing their job and earning a paycheck only. They have sabotaged ideas to motivate all employees into doing manager-approved extra projects. So, instead of giving the go-getter challenging projects, the manager gives her work the others could do but aren't motivated to do. The manager has turned down direct requests from her for more challenging work as well. Of course this causes problems.

As a fellow manager and part of the HR deparment, I'm trying to get the owner involved in granting permission to another team to give her work in which she would really help the company and grow, but the owner wants the status-quo manager to approve and run the department. I think it all stems from the manager's insecurities. All the classic signs are there.

How would you proceed? I've already been asked once to mind my department only so I don't want to overstep bounds, but we're about to lose a good employee if I don't do anything.

Answers

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Anon
Your efforts are noble, but maybe the environment is not a good fit for that person? People don't leave companies, people leave their bosses.

Anonymous
(Associate) |

I thought of that Len, that maybe she's not a good fit for her department. My goal here though is to recruit more people who want to improve things, to change the culture of the status-quo. It feels like a case where if other people/departments see that the status-quo is not enough, they'll either join in or leave, and the status-quo people cause the most problems here.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

It sounds like culture is starting with the top. Unless M/M Owner wants the culture to change it will be very difficult for you to institute change.

I'd start with the Owner to effect change.

Anonymous
(Associate) |

followup....I decided to go to the owner and take a risk, even though I've been told to mind my own department. I steered the conversation in a positive direction and tied it to my projects, and told the owner of the great things I've been hearing about the go-getter. The owner decided to sit down with some people to create projects for the go-getter. I offered to speak to the manager who turned down other requests, but the owner said no. So far, so good!

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Great outcome, it's a good start! Wait and see, if it is long term change you are seeking, take your time. If the owner wants growth and innovation, but the managers can't/won't make that happen, the owner needs to realize the situation and decide what to do, if anything, to change it.
I'd also counsel the go-getter to be humble about her successes so that her manager and others don't react negatively.

Anonymous
(Associate) |

Thank you. It is a good warning to take my time as I tend to get enthusiastic about helping others reach goals.
I've been talking with the go-getter to figure out the best ways to mitigate the negative reactions by coworkers. We're taking it day by day.

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