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Manager's agony

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I am a new project manager, and have a team of new hires (fresh out of college) working for me on a project. There is this one person who is over enthusiastic, lets call them 'A', to an extent where they are stepping on everyone's shoes (including mine) , and assuming unsolicited leadership role.


We had a major client meeting, where I had assigned A to go over the meeting agenda. As planned, A started the meeting agenda, except continued and said, "lets all go over the room and tell them what

we are doing". The tone was as if A was responsible for the team. You should have been there to understand what I am saying. It's hard to convey the tone in writing!


Another instance was when someone was talking, and A put them in the spot in front of everyone asking them to expand a long abbreviation (which was very commonly used in our discussions with the client, and hence did not need an expansion at this point). I had to jump in and rescue this other person. Anyway, this was not the only faux-paus! During the course of the meeting, the vibe A was giving out was that A was in-charge! I let it slide, as it would be awkward to say anything in front of the client.


I was letting the client know of some potential issue, and A jumps in and says "Lets discuss this towards the end of the meeting. It's not as bad as it sounds." I was asking the client if they knew where they wanted me be 1 year from now (all PMs out there would know that this is not an unusual question). A jumps in and tells the client "That's too far out. It's okay if you don't know. It's OK", making me sound and look stupid! I was asking the client some question, and A started answering for the client, shocking me and the client! The polite client waited for A to finish, and then started answering the question.


I am planning to have a chat with A to let them know that this is not good to step in everyone's shoes, and it is not creating a favorable impression in front of the clients.I wanted to hear what y'all think!

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No, you can't let this kind of thing slide...


You need to pull him aside in your office and explain what you did here, that he is not to speak for you OR the client in meetings.


He could be trying to impress you, or someone who doesn't understand social clues very well, or someone who has ego problems and thinks he should be in charge.


So he could be inexperienced, or he could be a big potential problem (with personality problems) that you may need to fire if he does this kind of thing after being warned.


Next time he tries to run away with a meeting, you need to actively step in and cut him off (politely) and take charge back. For example, if he says something like something isn't important and you should talk about it at the end of the meeting, you just immediately jump in, and say, 'actually, this is very important and we need to give it ample time so we'll talk about it now...' then start talking about it.


You can also use body language to stop him, like if he starts to run away with the meeting, hold up your hand in his direction in a 'stop' gesture, and then say, i appreciate your comments, but we're getting off topic and need to get back to the agenda.


So you have to use your power, and take back the power from him if he tries to take over inappropriately.


And put him in his place by NOT assigning him anything to do for the meeting for a while, until he's shown he knows how to behave appropriately and that he recognizes and accepts your authority.


There is a small chance that he didn't understand what you meant when you said you wanted him to go over the agenda, and he thought you meant take over the agenda, but i doubt that.


You do have to watch out for people like this, because he could be extremely aggressive and gunning for your job. The only way around someone like this is to actively just SHOW him you're in charge, and if he tries to usurp your power, let him know in no uncertain terms that you are running the meeting, and call him on really bad behavior (after the meeting).

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