“Just to be clear,” I repeated. “You expect a junior accountant to work overtime on your project, or if she cannot work overtime, to leave her other work undone while she finishes your work?”
“Look, it’s her work, now,” Roger replied. “She controls the pace and quality of her work. It is up to her to get it all done.”
“But, you arranged, with her manager, for five hours per week to do the accounting on your project. Because the job is bigger than you thought, it takes ten hours. Who resolves the conflict?”
“Her manager manages her other work. I am her manager on this project. She has to figure it out.”
“So, she has two managers? Are you her manager?”
“Yes, I am her manager for this project,” Roger insisted.
“So, if she underperforms or makes an egregious mistake, you can fire her from the company?” I wanted to know.
“Well, no,” Roger said. “Her other manager is in charge of that.”
“And, if she needs skills training, you would make arrangements to approve and send her to that training?”
“No,” Roger shook his head. “Her other manager would do that.”
“Then, you are not her manager.”
Roger sat up straight. “I am her manager on this project,” he stated flatly.
“Roger, you are the manager of this project. You are getting a service from the accounting department in the form of five hours of Nancy’s time per week. You have prescribing authority to directly give her task assignments, up to five hours per week. But if you need ten hours per week, you have to go to Nancy’s manager and negotiate for more time.”
“That seems like a lot of red tape to me,” Roger announced, as he stormed out of the room.