It's a JUNGLE out there...whether you are hiring or looking for a job.
Come and share your positive ideas about job change, employment trends, workplace issues and more. You'll find it all in the Job Search Jungle!

Like JobSearchJungle on Facebook!



 
-

The Frog – Leapfrogging Over Managers

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jun 16, 2011 in Executive Coaching, Lessons Learned

Bookmark and Share

Many companies have open door policies where employees may take suggestions and concerns to the top of the organization directly, essentially “leapfrogging” direct supervisors. Management, at all levels, is available with an “open door” to anyone who wishes to discuss the company or work environment.

These programs are generally greatly appreciated by both employees and managers who find the open dialogue a great source of immediate feedback and keep the lines of communication open. Sometimes, though, this policy is misinterpreted (or misused) as a vehicle for people to undermine their boss’ authority because they may disagree with the decision or policy.

Following proper channels is key. If an employee is at odds with their boss or supervisor, bringing complaints immediately to a manager above that boss without following the proper channels will reflect poorly on that person’s decision making skills. Their actions may cost them both trust and respect at the level above their boss and may unintentionally limit their future potential in the company. Taking an issue to the boss’ boss without ever addressing it with your boss is not proper business etiquette. If the issue is not resolved after this point to the employee’s satisfaction, other input may be necessary.

If you are a manager and your employee is consistently going above you without directing their concerns to you first, it needs to be addressed. Start with your own boss first. Discuss your intended course of action with them and obtain their support to counsel the employee. Business/management etiquette tells us that when your subordinate approaches your supervisor about an issue you have not yet had the opportunity to address; your boss should be deferring the topic back to you first with the second course of action to schedule a meeting for all three of you to discuss the issue.

Allexperts.com had the following QA on this subject:

Question

I have several employees that continually go over my head. Quite simply because they don’t agree or like a decision I make or get the answer they want to hear. Although I have full support of my boss they keep doing it. They are not aware that I know. I actually intercepted an email that an employee sent to their customer stating to get back to them before I got back from vacation so they could go to my boss and ask for a better rate. How can I stop this behavior? Do I address it by telling the employees that if they don’t agree with me that we can see the boss together? Maybe this way they won’t want to appear like they are going to the boss all the time but somehow I feel they will just keep doing what they’ve always done.

Answer*

“If you have the full support (assumption) of your boss then sadly, your boss is part of the problem. As a proper supervisory support technique he or she should be deferring your subordinates back to you when they circumvent your authority. If there is an issue then they have the right to ask for a meeting of all minds involved where you, your boss, and the subordinate sit for a discussion and a final decision. Until your boss will actually back you in both his or her words to you and in action regarding subordinates you are going to have continued problems.

In lieu of this you need to examine the “why” for your subordinates not working under your authority. It is a matter of respect to you and you apparently do not have it so the question is why? Jealousy for your position? Do they as a group undermine you because they feel you are not up to the task of managing them? Do they conspire in other ways to undermine you? If they go around you then they simply don’t respect you or your position. They find you a weak link.

Take some time and go through the history of your position. When you accepted or were given the position were some or all of the subordinates already in place? Does your boss have a history of not backing supervisors? There are a lot of questions to ask yourself and some will give you an insight into a direction for resolution. Take the situation to your boss and settle it, but have a plan. And, know that it may get worse before it gets better. You will be tested by both sides because developed habits do not quickly change.

You will need to have a sit down with your boss. You will need to establish some ground rules for your relationship and the chain of command and you will need to have a clear line of command protocols and an agreement for consistency with your boss enforcing them. If he or she won’t then there will be little you can do but attempt to build credibility in another way to gain the respect of your subordinates.

By understanding your own mental and emotional Perspective you can also discover your own biases. This is critical because biases simply push our ego to the surface at exactly the wrong time in a negotiation or conversation. Know what biases you harbor and you can keep them in check. Ask yourself if your position as a supervisor is being taken lightly; and, if people are going to continue to go around behind your back how does your boss expect you to lead properly?

We all have many biases we don’t even consciously recognize and they can be stumbling points on a path as we are trying to focus on other priorities. Make a list because pen-to-paper creates a validation of sorts to the mind and makes irritating self discovery more acceptable. It can be humbling but it is an important phase when persuading others to a different line of thinking and then, action. Cite specific examples of when and with what or whom your subordinates have gone to your superior rather than going through you or following your directive. Look for a pattern. You did not impart your exact profession but I suggest you follow the money. If your directives are lowering their immediate profit gratification it is a key issue.

Know what it is you want from the encounter, and from your subordinates and your supervisor. Your Purpose is to pick a final outcome that is satisfactory or from a list compromise points you will settle for at the end of the negotiation. These can be agreement for additional responsibilities to include mentoring and training, financial incentives, guarantees on position within the company, advancement possibilities and prospects, accounts under your control or your involvement, and any other ideas you can think of to add to the list.

Your Organization of particulars will offer you talking points for the meeting. You will be organized and therefore appear organized and project you have thought out the situation.

The skill of Active Listening is comprised of four steps:
1. Be open-minded and willing to listen by not judging the messenger.
2. Hear Initially what is being said so we gather enough information to make solid assessments.
3. Interpret what is meant from what is said. People rarely say what they mean the first time it comes out under stress or while in conflict.
4. Act Appropriately based upon the interpretation and not just what was actually said..

You can empathize with anyone. It is a feeling of connection. How would you feel if what is happening to another was actually happening to you. Act accordingly.”

Lee Fjelstad
Vice President, Verbal Judo Institute, Inc.
Associate, Verbal Defense & Influence
http://lfjelstad.verbaljudo.com
www.VerbalJudo.info

*paragraphs were removed from the original answer for space. You can read the full answer here: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Dealing-Employees-1641/2011/4/head.htm

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Copyright © 2022 JobSearchJungle All rights reserved.