Rise Performance Group

When Direct Reports Go Around You To Your Boss: Part 1 of 2

Have you ever had a team member who went right over your head to your boss? Whether than bringing a challenge or concern to us first, they go right over our heads–it can be really frustrating! I know I have dealt with that numerous times. Nothing frustrates me more than the fact that they didn’t come to me first. So let me share what I have learned when dealing with this issue.

First, I want to draw your attention to one of John Maxwell’s laws. It’s called the Law of Respect from The 21 Laws of Leadership. It says people naturally follow those with leadership ability greater than their own. So this could be an example of someone who feels they are a stronger leader or doesn’t feel that you are leading them.

Here some ways you can deal with this:

  1. Call a meeting. Say, “Hey I would like to meet with you. I have some things I would like to talk to you about.”
  2. When you kick the meeting off, pay some compliments. I like to think of 3 to 5 good things to say. “Here’s what I really appreciate about what you are doing.” “Here’s what I like about how we are working together,” and then quickly transition into your concern. “But you know, I’m concerned about why you felt the need to go to the boss on this particular issue. Can you help me to understand?” Now this is where you have to zip the mouth and listen. We have got to be quiet. A great question you can use is, “Is there anything else?” While they are talking, take notes and get all the notes down and listen until they are out of, “is there anything else? Is there anything else?”
  3. Go back and summarize what you’ve heard. If you can deal with it easily right there in the meeting, then deal with it and seek to get their agreement. If it is something a little bigger that you need to work on, it is perfectly ok to say let me go back and digest this. Let’s meet again in a few days and let’s talk about how we can get past this situation.

Your ultimate goal is to ask them, and to get their agreement, that in the future they will come to you first. And a great way you can add on to that is to say, “And you’ve got my commitment that if I have any concerns with you, I will be sure to come to you first.”

Implement this and I guarantee you, you will no longer have to deal with that person going over your head.

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