Skip Abusing Perceived Relationship & Open Door Policy
It has been reported to me that one of my skips has been acting less than respectfully to his supervisors, and after receiving feedback from them, declares to his peers (loudly enough for his supervisor to hear) that "it's no big deal, I'll just go talk to the boss, we're buddies".
This particular ee and I have worked together in different departments at other sites. We have always gotten along amicably, but never anything more than a casual conversation during a break. I am now the department manager and he is a front-line ee at a site that is relatively new to both of us. He joined the team 6 months ago, while I've been here for about a month. I've worked very closely in the past with most of my directs as co-workers and feel that I am well on my way to building very good relationships with them.
I have an open door policy right next to the room where my department works, so everyone knows that they are welcome to pop in whenever, even if it's just for a brief chat.
I've made a point of having casual talks with all of the skips in my transition process and holding more formal scheduled 03s with the supervisors. The only change that I am working on right now in the department is empowering the supervisors who, until now, behaved like peers to the front-line staff.
I am concerned that the above mentioned ee is damaging the supervisors' authority and the supervisors don't know how to respond to it.
On one particular instance the skip stormed out of the room and into my office. He sat down and I asked him what the problem was. The supervisor followed, and apparently the supervisor had strongly pointed out unprofessional behavior to the skip in front of the team. While I didn't agree with his delivery, I backed him up to the skip and asked the supervisor if the skip could return to his desk. He agreed. At that point I gave the supervisor feedback about the way he tried to correct the skip's behavior ( I haven't been giving any corrective feedback until now, only positive, but this one was urgent).
I am concerned that it appears to the team that I was reprimanding the supervisor and backing up the skip.
The skip continues to stop by my office a few times a week, we chat briefly and he continues on.
I am hoping to get suggestions on how to maintain my open door policy without undermining, or giving the front-line the appearence of undermining, the supervisors. Additionally, how do I communicate to my skips that although I love to build great relationships with them, none of them will receive any special treatment based on that relationship?