I am preparing for quarterly reviews and there is one key point I'd like to address.

Background: I have two reporting staff who both share an office. They have worked together for about three years.

One of my staff is always eager to help another, newer employee but of late I've noticed he's taking things a bit far. If she has a problem he'll come into my office and ask me if I can come and talk to her about it, or they'll both come into my office.

One aspect I'd like to see her improve on is her confidence and as long as he's acting as a crutch I don't see this happening.

She is more than capable and I almost feel that it's a fatherly approach he's taking that he's not even aware of. Although, the other more cynical side of me says he's involving himself because for other reasons he feels he's not privy to enough goings on in the company (he's mentioned this to me before).

I thought I'd talk to him about it, just suggest he try and stand back, let her grow and gain confidence. In thinking more about it though I'm leaning towards mentioning it to her, and maybe him. i.e. if she has a problem, come and see me, without him in tow.

It's probably going to come as a surprise to whomever I talk to but until this dependence is removed I don't see her gaining the confidence she needs to advance both in her role and beyond the team.

Hmm... in writing this I think I've found my answer. I'll talk to just her about it. I'll mention that it's not a good use of his time to be concerning himself with so much of her work and if she wants to speak with me she needs to talk to me, not mention it to him who'll then come and see me on her behalf.

Thoughts? Has anyone else been in a similar situation?


mmann's picture
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If I'm following you correctly, your new hire, let's call her Sally, is telling your longer-time direct, let's call him Eric, about issues and Eric is bringing those issues to you.  You'd prefer that Sally bring the issues to you directly.

If this is correct, I'm seeing two behaviors that require feedback.  As you've identified, one is with Sally who confides in Eric about an issue but then doesn't discuss it with you directly.  Sally may, or may not expect Eric to take the issue to you, but if you've discussed some of the issues with Sally and she still confides only in Eric, it's a good bet she's continuing in behavior that's giving her the results she desires.

The other is with Eric who is taking it upon himself to bring Sally's issues to you.  While this is better than never hearing about the issues, it's not ideal.  It distracts him from the important work he should be focusing on and interferes with the relationship you're trying to strengthen with Sally.  Ask Eric to encourage Sally to bring the issues directly to you. 

  Good luck!


LPlateManager's picture

You've got it. Thanks for the input, I'll talk to both of them this week.