(Closed) I'm the new boss – I'm underqualified and my team resents me – should I quit?

posted 4 years ago in Career
Post # 31
62 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

zippy85:  Read “Art of War” by Sun Tzu. Then fire Monica swiftly and without remorse. Let everyone else in your charge know you will do the same with them if they don’t fall in line. 

Whatever knowledge you believe she has is useless to you anyway. Replace her and begin building your team/department the way you want it. Don’t pussyfoot around these employees – you’re their boss, not their friend. 

Look at it this way, you can spend months/years fighting this battle and being miserable (crying at night, feeling sick in the mornings before work, being uneasy at your workplace, always being undermined, constantly watching your back and having to reprimand insubordinates). OR, you can fix it now by cutting loose Monica and anyone else who deserves it. Believe me, you’ll sleep so much better at night if you do the latter. 

Post # 32
619 posts
Busy bee

zippy85:  I think what is happening here is that Monica took on additional responsibilities because the old boss was probably pretty lazy. Old boss likely dumped a bunch of work on her to handle, so she took the lead and went with it. I’m guessing she worked really hard to build the team and helped them be successful while gaining a ton of knowledge. Since she is the most respected and knowledgable, no one will cross or question her for two reasons: they don’t know exactly what she does, and/or they don’t want to take on any of her work if she were to move on.

Since she is really running the show, you need to work with her instead of against her. Spend some serious one on one time with her, without reprimanding. Show her how much YOU know! she had no respect for old boss, so she probably thinks you will be as lazy or passive, so she doesn’t feel like she needs to give you the time of day. But, I strongly encourage you to learn what she does and help her understand how valuable she is within her actual job, not doing the duties of her boss. I.e. If you’re supposed to be scheduling, learn how she does it, why she does what she does, and take it off if her plate. Then assign her to something she is really good at/enjoys/or doesn’t have time to do because she has been too busy doing old boss’s job. She needs to learn to trust and respect you, but you need to be a little more assertive in your ways. The company hired you because they thought you would be a good fit. I’m sure you are, but your team has been tainted by poor bosses in the past.  

As far as the attitude, perhaps it will improve. If not, bring it to her attention and let her know it needs to change or she will be let go. But don’t just fire her to fire her. She, like you, is an asset to the company. She needs to be treated as an asset before anything will change. We all need to work together instead of working against each other. Men can do it, but for some reason women really like to see other women fail, and that just doesn’t need to happen. Empower each other before you decide one of you can’t work at the company. 


Post # 33
2092 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I think you’ve had some great advice from other PPs, and I completely agree you need to stop telling yourself she is qualified for the job, because demonstrably she isn’t. They chose you. What I would add is this: invite everyone one more time to have lunch individually with you. If they refuse, schedule formal meetings with them – to get to know them, go through policies and expectations, and to remind them about workplace attitudes. 

Post # 34
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

Go to askamanager.org and ask your question there!

Post # 35
4232 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2015 - Hotel Ballroom

To be honest, I’d fire Monica. If the rest of the staff want to quit, then fine. You are the boss, you shouldn’t have to put up with her.

Post # 36
335 posts
Helper bee

Monica sounds like a nightmare in heels.  Try working with her, but have a meet with her.  Tell her you understand she was given a lot of responsibility that was not in her job description and thank you for the help, but you will be reclaiming such responsibilities.  Give her another responsibility in its place.  Also, involve more of your subordinates with responsibilities, letting them know you are coordinating them with their talents.  If this doesn’t work, fire monica.  Give her a clear understanding of what will or will not be tolerated.  Let her know you have been given pity by other bosses in the office because you have to work with her, tell her you wish not to belive that nd think you can work through it.  Bee, you are the boss.  My SO had a similar situation.  She even started stalking him.  He ended up quitting and regretted it.

Post # 37
335 posts
Helper bee

Oh, and I would have a conversation with each employee in your office, getting to know their strengths, asking them privately what their ideas are.  They may surprise you one on one, when they aren’t under the watchful eye of monica. Chances are, they have some resentment towards her having been the previous favorite, and want their chance to shine. 

Post # 38
314 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

Didn’t see this comment till it was half way down page 2.


Take away Monica’s responsibilities- delgate and get daily/weekly updates- Have regular staff meetings and find out what people’s priorities and on going lists are.  Stay on top of what people are doing.


You’re job as the new hired professional is presumably to be a firefighter- meaning you put out fires- and you manage people/herd cats.


It’s okay to delgate- but it sounds like old boss was lazy- and monica did everything anyway- staffing and management and best practice solutions are your job though. 


Giver her a verbal warning- she’ll be even more pissed but do it anyway- keep a log and record of any warnings- do you have any performence evaluation standards??  we have PARS (its’ a performance annual report or something) and both the boss and I both sign them…. but we have to sit and talk about my actual job is and do I understand what my job is and how can we make it better- i.e. whats working or not working. Any warnings- go into pars.  If you do NOT have that- keep an excel tab or google notes- or something on each emploee as far as converstations/warnings etc. 


You’re doing a good job- you’re trying to connect and not just bully- but remember you ARE the new boss.   Learn- but don’t be taken for granted. You’re doing fine- don’t just quit.  you’ll never forgive yourself for getting bullied out of a promotion.  She thought it was hers- and she’s angry at you- but really she should be angry at herself. 

Post # 39
3029 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I’d give it a year to keep your resumé looking pretty. If you still hate you job after a year, the experience you’ve gained will hopefully score you the same kind of job with a better team. 

Post # 40
516 posts
Busy bee


Your post could’ve been written by me 3.5 years ago when I was hired to supervise 20 very tenured (80% had been with the company 10+ years) employees…all women but one.  My manager hadn’t been there long himself, and within 2 weeks he was fired for harassment, and just like that, I was completely on my own.  And I had a “Monica” named Kay.

You’ve used some of these already, but this is what has helped me manage high-conflict personalities:

* Use the sandwich method in your coaching sessions (critique sandwiched between something neutral/positive) to built confidence (Kay was insecure and it was clear it had been a long time since she’d gotten any praise at all).

* Remind her that her coworkers look up to her and emphasize what a large responsibility she has as a result.

* Let her vent–get her opinions on what is/isn’t working–this will help you learn more about what obstacles your team is facing so you can go about getting them the tools they need to perform their jobs 

* Find out what job function she currently enjoys doing the most and make sure she gets more of that…also find out what responsibilities she’d like to take on and what her career path is so you can help her with what she needs to get her headed in the right direction.  Give her projects showing your confidence in her and your willingness to rely on her.

* Be consistent, be fair, be willing to get your hands dirty and show the whole team you’re not above getting in the trenches

* Make sure part of their evaluation score is dependent on soft skills: diplomacy in the workplace, overall attitude, positive communication and willingness to make things better.  Make it well known that insubordination is grounds for immediate termination (including going over your head for solutions). 

* Hone in on one or two of Monica’s good qualities and use those to build a relationship of confidence and trust between you.

You’ve got this–don’t give up!      


  • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by  shesheb.
Post # 41
11051 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

zippy85: Don’t bow out yet. Give it a year. First off, you’re handling it perfectly. You can’t let her think she has the advantage. People don’t like change and that’s what their problem is. I’ve found your post comforting as I’m in the same boat as you. I’ve been in my job for 5 months nearly and it’s my first manager job, like you I quite often think ‘to hell with it, stuff it, I can’t be arsed’. When  I say ‘Good Morning’ it always sounds half hearted though when my manager (who was previously in my job) walks in the staff turn round for him, so frustrating. Like you, I knew it would be a struggle but they are really hard work sometimes and I never know if I’m handling things correctly or not. 

Post # 42
229 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

To be honest I would hire a new team member, have that member train with everyone and when you felt like the new team member had everything in hand, fire monica.

Post # 43
1883 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

KoiKove:  this + a million! OP, don’t quit yet. Do get Monica started on doing documentation and process improvement, and give her a timeline for handing off her day to day tasks to other team members (such as one month). Document everything you assign in emails so that if she doesn’t do it, it will look like she is not meeting work milestones and you can put that in her performance assessments and hit her where it hurts – a lowered performance will affect her raise, no? 

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