How do you manage someone when they are constantly questioning your judgment and the work you pick? It’s a single person and I don’t seem to have this problem with any one else on the project

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Ask for the “why” of their judgements. Especially if it’s a simple “I don’t like it” or something similar. It’s much easier to defend your choices if they can articulate their reasoning. And if they can’t, then it sounds like a power play of some sort. And the way to manage power plays is to articulate your reasons for the choices you make or, if they are subordinate to you, you can always say “because this is a creative choice and I’m the cd responsible for the output of my work.”

Good luck.

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Ugh I feel you. Also, magic question that changes power dynamics: “Do you really want to be here?”

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This is a great little flip.

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I would see if they have any solutions. If it’s a team then everyone has a right to voice an opinion. If it’s disagreement for the sake of disruption that’s another story. I would talk to the person and say you’re always the one in the room who sees things differently. Let’s see how that can work for us and make us better.

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Sorry to hear this. I was in a toxic agency once with same problem. I found when reason stops working it is personal thing and a power play...which really limits your options. If you let this person undermine your decisions in front of others it will only get worse and they will try to get others to “join” them. If you’re a fair and good leader very few people will join them but the constant undermining will deteriorate morale in your group if let unchecked. I brought in a freelancer in to freshen things up that basically did the negative persons job to send a message and that worked out pretty well. Also had to fire an ACD that didn’t get the point. Each time the group was happy about the change. Hope that helps. Would love to hear other options from you all.

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Pull rank on them, and say Sorry, I’ve made my decision, which as the CD, I don’t need to justify

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Start with communication objectives for the piece in question, then share any specific things that you felt really hit those better in the selected work, last suggest what might have been in theirs to bring it more in line with an interesting output that would also be on strategic point. Lastly, offer them a beret and an easel and tell them that if they’d like to paint, you can use their salary budget differently. (Ok maybe the beret comment is too much).

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Thank you. These are helpful. It’s coming from someone who has historically had a terrible attitude and also isn’t terribly articulate. Reason doesn’t seem to work at all. I work in a highly competitive agency where every advance made by one person is ridiculed and criticized behind doors by others due to jealousy. Very toxic and probably a cause for some of this behavior

Sometimes letting them go first when going through the work can be really helpful. They dynamic of you-show-it-then-I-decide sometimes wears people down even if the person in charge is completely right and brilliant. But if they present and then you ask them what they think is best and why, and then ask follow-up questions, it might help them see the work in a context that’s broader and less personal.

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