Skipping Chain of Command?

Suppose an employee is unhappy about a situation but feels their manager won’t help them resolve it. The employee overrides their manager, taking their concerns to the executive.

If you are an executive (or the manager that’s been overridden, be aware of this trap.)

The Trap
The executive listens to the employee and resolves the problem for the employee, overriding the manager’s authority. The manager is blindsided and loses confidence.

The result: Employees learn to override their boss and jump ahead, resulting in a culture of avoidance and rescuing versus honest communication.

Trust is lost between manager and executive, and mismanaged conflict leads to retaliation.

What to do instead: If you’re an executive and an employee comes to you about resolving a problem with their manager, listen first.

Then, ask two strategic questions: “What have you tried so far, and have you talked with your boss about it?”  Chances are, they have not addressed it with their own manager.

If the employee hasn’t brought the situation to their manager, coach them on how to address the conversation, then set a follow-up date to hear about the result for accountability. A good rule is no blindsides. Don’t undermine your managers. Instead, meet with the employee and the manager to hear both sides if necessary.

If you see any of these types of challenges, reach out and let’s schedule an exploratory call. I can help!

Marlene Chism