My Name is Chip

I work for you and I don’t like it.

We joined the company at the same time and worked in the same unit.  Everybody likes me and I am the best performer on our team.  I’m going to make a difference in this company.

But they made you the manager.  So you are technically my boss.  Even though more people like me and I am the best at what I do.

And now you are telling me how to do things.  I already know what’s best for my clients and me, so I am going to nod my head in our meetings and then keep doing it the way I have always done it.  The right way. My way.

And now you have a problem with that?  You schedule a meeting, without even asking me, in your office and when I get there you close the door.  All serious.

Then you ask me about a client project and why I did it the old way, my way.  Because I know best for my clients.  Why do I even need to answer to you?  I’m the most deserving and I was passed over…

END SCENE

Before Chip goes all Fredo Corleone and makes his case to Michael, let’s talk about how to manage someone like him.

Being promoted into a managerial slot from a group of people that you will then have to manage is pretty rough – and passive aggressive people like Chip make it that much harder.  Chip’s sense of entitlement, which he will call destiny, will prevent him from seeing the reality of the situation and at first might make it hard for him to support you.

So kill him with kindness.  In The Godfather, when Michael when says, “Fredo, you’re my brother and I love you.”  He is really saying, despite the fact that you resent my position and the power you feel I have over your life,  I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt for the good of the family.

When you’re dealing with Chip, make sure he knows how much you value his contribution to the team. Praise him in public at the team meetings, especially when he reluctantly gets on board for something new.  Hopefully, he will see you as someone who is on Team Chip and decide to return the favour and support you.  These small wins are huge in your career as a manager – when you give someone the chance to turn around and they take it.

What if he doesn’t and continues the small acts of defiance?  Better to address it quick behind closed doors before he calls Johnny Ola and Hyman Roth.  Give him a chance to vent his real reason for not getting on the bus.

Assuming it’s jealousy or immaturity is a mistake on your part.

Chip is a person and there may be personal stuff going on beyond “they promoted you and not me.”   If that’s all there is, we can all sympathize with being passed over and you should tell him that.  Give him examples of all the good things you have done together in the past and the great things to come and his importance to the team.  But at some point he has to suck it up and decide if he wants to continue doing things his own way or get over himself and enjoy the ride.

Make it clear this meeting is the first step in the disciplinary process and what the timetable is for seeing improvement and what that specific improvement should be.  This starts the clock ticking in his head – either how quickly he needs to change or what the latest date he has to find another job.

From this point on it’s a win for you as a manager either way.

  • Chip stays and is a team player and is grateful for your role in keeping him at the company, WIN!
  • Chip leaves on his own and takes his toxic attitude with him, WIN!
  • Chip stays and so does his attitude?  You’re covered and can move toward dismissal. WIN!

Every Chip you manage is an opportunity shine.

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