Managing “sideways”

You've maybe heard of managing "up" -- I am currently doing a lot of managing "sideways" as my "sibling" in the org chart appears *way* over his head carving out a path for cross-functional collaboration and I'm trying to walk a thin line between coaching him and doing his job for him and lately it's been a lot more of the latter. :/

I am invested in his success because my team and his are arm in arm so I worry if he falls we both fall. Additionally, the morale issues on his team are concerning, and they are impacting folks on my team as well. But this is becoming a sizable amount of thankless, invisible work, and this is both utterly unsustainable as well as unreasonably infuriating.

I am wondering how best to handle this. As far as I can see, my options are:

1) Do nothing, let him fall on his face, do my best to shield our teams from whatever blow-out.

2) Bring it up with him directly, as delicately as possible, but I'm worried about his frame of mind, as well as him misinterpretating it like a power grab or something. (It's truly not, I have my own problems :))

3) Bring it up with his/my manager, but this feels like "tattle-tailing" :/ At the same time, were I in his position, I would want to know...

Any thoughts / advice welcome.

I wish I had some advice, but all I can offer is empathy: I’m in a similar position, with both of us reporting to a new boss. My colleague, who is a lovely human and a dear friend, is having quite a bit of difficulty finding their way after some rearranging of our org chart, the dismissal of our former manager, and general org upheaval. I can’t say it’s been easy on anyone, and I’m happy to provide support where I can - but the time draw to support their process, offer coaching -on navigating the changes as well as their work in general (I’m often asked to be a thought partner and sounding board for areas they ‘own.’ )We are a small team and often collaborate, but the time cost is unsustainable for me as well, particularly as I’m trying to grow in my own arena. Here’s what I’m trying:-when asked for a meeting, placing it somewhere that I have a hard stop, so 30m doesn’t leak into 2+ hrs-when unexpectedly called, taking a few moments to truly listen and offer solutions, but finding a reason to extricate myself after a few moments if the conversation becomes stress circles or repetitive venting. I may bring it up with our manager if I can’t get some space from this ‘unofficial manager/coach’ role. It’s actually a position I would be happy to take, if this colleague was officially made a part of my team and so the time was factored into my overall management responsibilities- but as it is, it feels like an unrecognized extra.
In my experience, the best option is close to your number #2, with some adjustments:* it doesn't have to be "as delicately as possible", rather as "factual" as possible.* work on your worry about his reaction. his reaction is outside of your control and influence areas, and it's best to stay anchored in your own experience rather than anticipating what the other might think or feel or how they might react.A feedback framework that will come in very handy for you is the Experience Cube, where you structure your speech in the following 4 consecutive points:1. What the observable facts are that you personally see/hear.2. What you think about these facts3. How thinking this way makes you feel4. What you expect from him and the situation, what you want, and what you need.I can elaborate more on this if you'd like. A good explanation + example is available here: taking a bit of your message as an example of how to pass it on in this framework, you could have:1. I notice that lately my team and I have been busy doing X, Y, Z... 2. I think these tasks fall under the responsibility of your team.3. As I see these tasks build up, there is increasing frustration both on my side and on my team.4. I expected we would engage in a collaboration and that responsibilities would be clear. I would like to clarify the responsibility for these tasks in a dedicated session.What do you think?"Hope this all helps!
@Wai55, I can understand the delicate situation you're facing. Here's a mix of opinions and neutral advice on your options:1.) Doing nothing is a risky path, as it might lead to negative consequences for both teams. If you choose this route, make sure you have a solid plan to mitigate any potential fallout.2.) Speaking directly to your colleague is generally a good approach. Open and honest communication can go a long way. You can express your concerns about the collaborative efforts and emphasize your desire to help rather than taking over. It's essential to approach this conversation with empathy and a collaborative mindset.3.) Bringing it up with your/their manager isn't necessarily "tattling." It can be a way to seek guidance and support in a challenging situation. Your own manager might have insights or be able to address the situation from a higher level. Just ensure your intention is to improve collaboration and not to undermine your colleague.Ultimately, a combination of options 2 and 3 might be the most effective. Discuss your concerns with your colleague first, and if needed, involve your manager to find a solution that benefits both teams and maintains your professional relationships. Hoping this helps! :)
I've been in this situation a few times, so you have my empathy. I've handled it by working directly with the person, letting them know I was there to help but also setting boundaries on the amount of work I took over. When it was clear these tasks would be an ongoing drain on my time, I mentioned the situation to my manager in the context of explaining my current tasks and how much I was spending on them. I didn't complain or tattle, just matter-of-factly let her know during our one-on-ones that I was spending X% of time supporting that peer/team. In some cases, my manager asked me to continue supporting the person and reprioritized my other tasks to accommodate it. And in some cases, she got the other person's manager involved to support them so I didn't have to take on all the work. I hope you find a resolution that works for you!