The good friend

Written by Grant Heinrich 27 Feb 2020

Each month, Fastlead alumni are offered a management challenge, asking how they would best respond to a challenging situation. Here’s the first.

You are Alex, and you’ve been promoted, congratulations! You now are running the team you used to be a member of. The first month or so has gone better than expected, and most members of the team are responding well to your early initiatives. Except one - Sam. You joined on the same day two years ago, and have hung out together ever since. Sam is your best friend in the company.

Sam hasn’t adjusted well to you being leader. Sam still wants to socialise outside work and talk about the team (as you used to do before being promoted). Worse, Sam arrives to work late, leaves early, and takes extra long lunch break, making out as though they have some special status. You can see this annoying and worrying the other team members, who might believe you are giving Sam special treatment. Worst of all, Sam acts as if the two of you are running the team, constantly giving you feedback on your leadership as if Sam was co-leader. This is now leading to Sam not delivering on some key KPIs.

What precise steps would you take to resolve this issue, and how would you execute them?

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