Ask Dr. Karen - June 25
Dear Dr. Karen -
I work in Shanghai for a web-based sales organization
for Chinese buyers and sellers of goods, services,
living spaces to buy or rent and used cars. My age is
34 but I have been very successful as the leader in the
sales and leasing of apartments. A recent scandal
unearthed demands for bribes with my colleagues in the
auto sales area. Until now, that had been the most
lucrative of the online operations of my North American
company. My area has been the second most money making.
My boss has asked me to lead both the apartment and car
sales parts of the business. The leader of the auto
part of the business has always been friendly to me but
he is much older than me. In the Chinese culture you
need to be respectful to your elders. In the beginning
of my work for this company this colleague was
supportive. I am really worried about being his boss.
What do you suggest? This is an unusual situation for
My biggest pressure is that my boss doesn’t want my
colleague to leave. It is hard to hire good people in
the local market. So I have to be nice to him.
The key to your situation is to establish “boundary
conditions” for your boss’ support as well as the
support of his or her peers. You need their support to
be successful. The boundary condition discussions are
Performance Review: You do your colleague’s
performance appraisal and help to determine his
bonus in the future.
Roles: Your boss outlines what your role is in
working with your colleague with your input as to
what you want and expect from your new role.
“Deliverables:” Regular reports where you need to
ask for information with a deadline, have to be
designated as part of the role of your colleague.
Audit guide: What will show that the car sales group
is staying out of trouble? Mutually determine how
boss will know that you are keeping watch over the
auto sales group?
Just in case: You need to discuss how much your boss
will support you when you politely make requests but
your colleague threatens to leave or there are other
me know if you have questions or comments.
Thanks for writing, Karen