About a year ago we underwent a merger and any overlap between the companies was ironed out. However my peer is not playing ball and she is stealing my leads. My boss is aware but keeps telling us to “work it out.” I’m at my wits end—what should I do? J.K., Ann Arbor, MI
First, I’d ratchet down the judgment (“stealing”)—it’s an assumption, wastes energy, and introduces a level of drama that isn’t helpful. It’s not clear what, if anything, you’ve done to resolve the situation. From your manager’s response, it sounds like s/he is looking for you two to come to a solution and inform him/her.
Ask your peer to lunch. Get out of the office and meet on “neutral” ground. Start by telling her that you wanted to talk to her about how you could work better with her. Speak totally from your point of view using “I” instead of “you” or “us.” It will give you a better chance of being heard and will limit misunderstandings.
Tell her how you believe the territories were split and that you were confused when she went to see Client X. It could sound something like this “When we merged I thought the territories were going to be split by geography vs. type of client. When you called on Client X, it surprised me. I thought it was worth a conversation since I never talked with you about what you were told. It’s in our best interests to make sure we’re clear so that our clients and prospects know who to call.”
Stay neutral and concentrate to understand where she is coming from. Use your sales skills to work out a compromise that works for both of you. Commit to checking in regularly to make sure that there are no misunderstandings moving forward. Once you’re aligned, meet with your manager as a team to inform them of your agreement. Ideally your manager is also your peer’s manager. If not, you’ll need to make sure both managers are looped in and in agreement.
If you're wondering why corporations act as they do or would like advice on how to navigate the corporate landscape, please Ask Amanda and submit your question here.
You are welcome to reprint this article as long as you include the following in its entirety: Reprinted from “Our Corporate Life®,” a biweekly ezine featuring practical tips and tools for navigating the corporate world. Copyright © MMXVII Amanda Mitchell and Our Corporate Life LLC All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at www.ourcorporatelife.com/subscribe