how to manage someone who doesn't want to be managed

How To Manage Someone Who Doesn’t Want To Be Managed-He’s Always Right

Someone Who Thinks They Are Always Right

Have you ever had the pleasure of working with someone who thinks they are always right? As a result, they don’t need advice, counsel, or other people’s thoughts, because they have all the answers. But what happens when they don’t, and their performance suffers? How do manage someone who doesn’t want to be managed, and get them to be more collaborative?   Not easily.  We’ll explore 3 approaches and give you the best one, equipping you for success when you are privileged to deal with this situation.

The Situation

You are VP of Operations for a regional restaurant chain. Raymond works for you, overseeing six locations in one city. He is a hard worker who accomplishes a lot. You like his go-getter spirit.

But Raymond also exhibits a Q1 over-inflated confidence. He seeks autonomy in his job by keeping you at arm’s length. He knows what he is doing, so why waste time collaborating? His justification is that he has things so well covered, there’s no reason to bother you.

I Don’t Need Your Help

Inevitably, though, problems do occur. However, Raymond’s Q1 tendency is to downplay any issues. That takes the spotlight off of mistakes. But when he says “I don’t need your help”, he shortchanges the review process that could provide insight for avoiding future difficulties.

Dimensional Model of Behavior

How Do You Help Someone Who Doesn’t Want Help

You feel Raymond has a promising future as a higher-level executive — if he can confront his Q1 tendency to go it alone. He needs to be a more collaborative problem-solver, not someone who thinks they are always right.  How to manage someone who doesn’t want to be managed? As a Q4 leader, you want to have a coaching session with him about working together more effectively when problems occur.

What’s the most important thing you can do to begin your first discussion? How can you get Raymond’s buy-in for talking about how you should work together?

Your Choices:

Click the best answer below. Our answer will then highlight with an explanation below.

How To Manage Someone Who Doesn’t Want To Be Managed

Craft a Q1 Benefit Statement to Motivate Raymond

Of course, you must develop a concise statement for the purpose of meeting with Raymond, which is Answer C. In this case, it’s to “come up with procedures that will help the two of you work together more effectively when problems arise.”

But even more important to your coaching success is choice A, your communication of strong benefits. Raymond should know what’s in it for him, if he's going to fully participate in this discussion. If he isn’t motivated, he's not going to want to collaborate or be managed. He may show low receptivity, and even stonewall you.

The benefit(s) you state should be honest, but also be tailored to Raymond’s Q1 need for recognition and independence. “If you’ll invest in this discussion about how we can best work together, I’ll feel more confident about the autonomy you want in your job and be more assured in your abilities as a problem-solver.”

How do you manage someone who doesn't want to be managed? Start by giving careful thought to the benefit statement you’ll express up front. It’s not about the benefit to you or your company, but the one for the other person. A personalized benefit statement will go far in recognizing what’s at stake for your direct report to arrive at a solution.

Have an Action Plan for Raymond Ready to Use if Needed

Choice B is not a good approach here. As Raymond’s boss, you can certainly make him sit in a meeting while you tell him how he should behave in the future. However, his receptivity to your plan will be very low, especially given his Q1 behavior.

You are also missing out on the natural motivation that arises if your direct report develops the plan as an organic outgrowth of your discussion. In other words, have goals for your coaching session, but show the employee it’s in their best interest to participate. Allow the other person to use your probing to discover what needs to be done. Answer A is your best insurance that a Q1 direct report will not simply argue that there’s no problem.

Clearly State the Purpose of the Meeting

Choice C is certainly an important step. And you should think about how you want to construct that statement. It will help focus the other person on what needs to be confronted. However, even more crucial to managing someone who doesn't need managing is showing your direct report the benefits for full participation in this important discussion — Answer A.

 No, please try again.

 No, please try again.

Further Leadership Development

Now that you know how to manage someone who doesn’t want to be managed, we have 40 more leadership tips that await you.

Do you work with someone who can be challenging to deal with?  Learn actionable tips with our behavior questionnaire.

If you’d like to take the next step from learning people leadership skills to actually putting them into practice and driving results, we offer a range of leadership development resources including workshops, coaching, 360 feedback, and more.

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