The team does not like me - what to do?

In this blog, I will provide an approach to handling the situation where managers must work with team members who dislike them.

Srihari Udugani
5 min readFeb 28, 2024
Photo by Obie Fernandez on Unsplash

In situations where you were chosen for promotion to manager role than others within the team, then there could be team members who do not want to support the decision.

Such team members will start showing that they don’t like you and they will start making things harder for you.

In this case, some managers don’t understand what to do. They will be stuck with so many thoughts and frustration about the situation.

In this blog, I will give a structured approach to handling the situation. This structured approach may help to ease the situation.

Why the dislike?

It is important to understand the reason why some individuals don’t want you to be in the position of manager for the team.

Without understanding the reason, it will be difficult to arrive at possible solutions to ease the situation.

In my opinion, the following are the broad reasons.

  1. The experience levels do not match.
    Some of them think, your experience is not enough to become a manager or their experience is much more than superior than yours.
  2. Negative perception.
    In your past encounters with such team members, for some reason, they have developed a negative perception of you.
  3. Trust.
    They feel you are not a trustworthy person due to your actions in the past.
  4. Other influencers.
    Maybe there are individuals outside of the team who are creating an impression that you are not fit as they could be having some difficulties working with you.
  5. Your working style.
    The way you work as an individual contributor has given signals to those team members that you will start expecting the rest to work similarly. Your working style may not be how they want to continue to work.

The approach? V.O.T.O framework

V.O.T.O Framework

If you just randomly start doing things, the situation will not ease. Without understanding the depth of the unhappiness or misalignment, it is impossible to make things better.

So, first, verify how bad is the situation.

You can utilize your supervisor's help for this. The help will be needed to get insights into the situation.

The supervisor should try to get information about the following.
▪ Whether there is not enough clarification on the decision
▪ Whether there is not enough clarity on the roles and responsibilities
▪ Whether there is not enough information on future work
▪ Whether there will be downsizing?
and so on.

This will help to gauge the depth of the problem. For example, let’s say, the team member is not sure about the roles and responsibilities going forward since there was no promotion, then discussing it and agreeing on the way forward could ease the situation.

So, it is important to first verify the depth of the problem before going ahead with any action.

Open Communication
Once you become aware of the actual problems or differences, have an open communication about it.

To have this open communication, choose a neutral location. The location cannot be an office conference room, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams. It must be either a coffee shop, a restaurant, a burger joint, etc.

If open communication happens within the office vicinity, then the other team members will subconsciously see you as a Manager and in a commanding position. In a neutral place, this will not be the case. So communication can happen freely.

In this conversation, you must try to do the following.
▪ Listen to what the other team member is saying or trying to convey
▪ Talk about your side of the story and how you feel about this whole thing
▪ Agree on the concerns from both sides

With the above 3 points, both of you will hear realities and agree concerns from both sides must be addressed.

Once the concerns are agreed, it is time to build the trust among the team members.

As a manager of the team take the first step to show that you care about the concerns and you are working on it.

As a manager try to maintain integrity about the points that are agreed upon. This will ensure that the team members see that you want to bridge the gaps that exist in the team.

Other Options
If open communication and building trust do not yield results as expected then it is better to discuss other options that are present within the team and the organisation.

Some of the options that can be explored are as follows.
▪ Transferring the team member to another team with similar work
▪ With the help of the supervisor identify an acceptable role
▪ Allowing the other team member to manage a subset of team members
▪ Allowing the other team member to take over a different team
▪ Giving complete ownership of major product development or a Customer
and so on.

This will ensure that the team member is somewhat happy with the options provided. This will also help to reduce the differences between you and the other team members.

Final thoughts

As a manager, it is important to resolve the differences in the team. Without resolving the differences, you will not be able to succeed in your role.

The V.O.T.O framework gives structure to the steps that must be taken while resolving such conflicts or differences.

If nothing works, the other options will make sure that the team member moves out of the team or gets a role that is suitable within the team, so that the impact of differences will reduce.

As a manager, note that it is important to take the first step of resolving the conflicts and differences.

Happy management!

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Further reading



Srihari Udugani

Knowledge Made Simple and Structured, Decisions Made Clear. Happy success!