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Friday, 13 July 2018

OPINION: How to Manage Over-ambitious Subordinate Scheming to Undermine You

By Anayo M. Nwosu

Mr. Atuegwu, a manager with an Insurance company had not known peace since Ezenagu was posted from another branch to come work with him.

The naive Atuegwu was too slow to discover that the young Ezenagu had another plan. To achieve his subterranean objectives, Ezenagu wouldn’t mind going the whole hog to discrediting, setting up and possibly displacing his boss.

Ezenagu was indeed very dangerous. He was a smooth operator who had surreptitiously established friendship with all key line supervisors of his boss. They had found Ezenagu a willing source of office gossips and unofficial information about fellow staff. He was to endear himself with big guns in the organization by brokering amorous meetings between some needy management staff and grateful ladies.

Unlike his boss, Ezeanagu was a smooth operator and a flawless liar. His handsome face and gentle disposition bellies his insidious nature. He was like the proverbial oke amosu or a rat that would keep soothing its victim not to feel its scrappy bite.

Ezenagu had pulled all the needed strings he needed to deal his boss the deepest cut. His boss was due for an annual vacation and Ezenagu would be the relief manager. He wished to replace his boss.
He wanted management to either redeploy or sack his boss upon resumption from leave.

The ambitious subordinate wanted to act so well in that his company would see him as a better fit for the branch manager’s job.

Are you a supervisor or a manager who has a character like Ezenagu who doesn’t want to wait for his or her own turn?

Do you have a subordinate who goes beyond your back squealing on your weaknesses or hidden transgressions to your bosses or management just to undo you and take over your position?

Do you have the next in command who would rather introduce his or her customers to your boss before merely tell you about them? This guy would want the ultimate boss to see him or her as the only person working or as a pillar to your branch. He or she would interrupt your meetings saying “Oga or Madam says I should come now”.

Do you have have a staff who would appear so brilliant in a meeting your bosses attend or who would starve you of key information in the office waiting to relay such in a meeting before your boss to make you look incompetent and stupid?

You need to do something before you are struck.

Once you identify your immediate subordinate as manipulative and over ambitious, you need to do the following:

1. Confront him or her: Many would rather pray or ignore an insidious subordinate to their own damnation. Confront the coup plotter with your suspicion. Let him or her know that you are aware of her plot to supplant you and that you would never allow that to happen. Make him or her uncomfortable. This is in line with the truism that whenever light is shone at a dark corner the rat is startled and it runs away.

2. Institute Hierarchical Order: Let everyone know that it is a taboo to send mails straight to your boss or anybody in management without first routing them through you. React decisively to any breach of this protocol. Let  your subordinates know that visiting your bosses during business hours except with your permission is a haram. Send only the very junior ones to your bosses to retrieve approved documents.

3. Cover your tracks: Make sure that everything about your relationships and personal life is not known to the ambitious subordinate. Every information to him or her is a weapon material for future use.

4. Be very professional: Never be seen contravening the company’s policy in the presence of the poisonous staff or any staff at all. He or she would use it against you in future. Learn to practice your madness outside your organization.

5. Make your annual vacation short and look unplanned: An unusual situation needs an unusual behaviour. Don’t allow your tormentor know your vacation plan. Don’t follow the preplanned leave roaster. Surprise is a weapon. Resume days before due date as this would take the wind off the sail of the schemer. Hand over key customer relationships to another staff below the relief manager and tell the customers who they should talk to in your absence. Though this is an extreme measure and might be deemed unprofessional in some organizations.

6. Be on top of your job: Ensure that you acquire requisite skills for the position you occupy. Being good on your job leaves little room for the ambitious subordinate to attack. A manager who is good at what he or she does is virtually immune to skirmishes of an ambitious subordinate.

7. Never run down your own bosses or management to your subordinates’ hearing. Recall that one of the tools of the ambitious staff is gossip. You arm him or her when you talk down on any management staff. She might even record your conversation and play it back to the recipient to prove his or her point and nail you.

8. If the subordinate has already won your immediate supervisor who has begun to dislike you or to unreasonably criticize your work, then you must plot your exit or scheme to neutralize their possible negative actions by befriending your second level supervisor or your boss’ boss. Ensure that the person your boss reports to appreciates your work; that would make him ask hard questions when your own boss starts misbehaving.

It is noteworthy that some dangerously ambitious subordinates are so much in a hurry to do away with their bosses that they use Juju or Jazz to inebriate or weaken their immediate boss. The good ones among them would just arrange a protracted illness that would heal once the boss resigns while some wicked ones would just eliminate the boss and take over.

When a boss refuses to eat or drink freely with office colleagues, he or she is afraid of being liquidated. Some bosses don’t even give anyone keys to their offices and wouldn’t also allow someone else sit on their chairs. This, somehow, gives a boss a sense of security over land and surface missiles but never to air and spiritual ones.

Prayer is key but it does not always protect a boss from all acts of an ambitious subordinate. The God you pray to had to resort to a practical approach when He too suffered the same fate in the hands of Lucifer who wanted to unseat Him. God had to raise an army led by Angel Michael to fight and chase away Lucifer and his army down to the earth.

Ask many general overseers of big churches what they had passed through in the hands some of their senior pastors before the ambitious senior pastors broke away as Satan did with some hitherto faithful church members. Some catholic and other orthodox churches’ heads of parishes or congregations see hell in the hands of some priests who don’t have patience to wait.

Therefore, whenever you notice that a subordinate is planning to unseat you or to orchestrate your sack in order to usurp your seat, confront him or her within the ambit of the rules of your organization and let him or her feel the heat.

If the over ambitious subordinate decides to stay on, ensure that he or she is as uncomfortable as that bird that has perched on a laundry rope also known as ngige.

You, the boss, are that laundry rope and the ambitious subordinate is the bird. Both of you would be dancing a swivel until something happens. In most cases, the bird would be the first to fall or fly away and the rope remains.

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