After a good run in leadership I left a job at the start of COVID and began consulting, focused on strategy and capacity building, and quite enjoyed it. I did not plan on going for a job job, but I found a position in grant-making that was so well suited to me I had to go for it, and got the job.
It's a very small team but needing to grow rapidly because of a big infusion of funds that will need to be granted out soon, for reasons I won't get into. To manage this, the very small team is doubling in size, including my position which is new, and everyone's jobs are being shuffled in terms of scope and authority. Some functions that belonged to others previously are now mine.
There is one team member who just seems at odds with me.
If you ask any question she and I will automatically give completely opposite opinions. We have very different work styles and very different areas of competence. She's expressed to the ED her unease about me doing some things she used to do, and has tried to direct my focus, even though we are peers. The ED has given her guidance not to do this, and has been clear that the ED and I will work on my priorities together.
The things that moved from her to me are not because she did a bad job, but because we need to increase our capacity to manage. It is also true that she was not especially creative or strategic in those areas where I tend to do well so it's not an accident that those functions moved – but again, she wasn't doing a bad job. We all have different aptitudes and strengths.
FWI I am not the kind of person who walks in and wants to turn everything upside down. I have a more slow approach and want to be very sure I understand why things are the way they are before, and if, I make changes. She, on the other hand moves fast and gets things done, but sometimes doesn't allow for enough process and decisions have to be revisited several times.
No matter how friendly I try to be I feel she's just uncomfortable with me. I also understand she is not comfortable with all the growth, and is not excited about becoming a bigger grant making organization.
I complimented her in front of the ED on having so much institutional knowledge and knowing where everything is and how it works. She turned my gratitude upside down, saying that if I needed her help finding anything it was because she'd not stored it properly and would fix it. Somehow my saying I'm a lost newbie who appreciates her expertise turned into her not doing something right.
We need both our styles and they ought to complement each other. But my efforts at showing my good intent seem to backfire, and I don't know what else to do. I don't think she's malicious, just used to doing everything her way and maybe has a hard time letting go.
Have you been in either her or my position before?
Did you learn anything about how to make this work better?
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