Suppose a DR has a request (information, money, etc.) but you, as manager, have to check with your own boss. You do so in person, he says give him a day to get back to you. Nothing happens. You send an email follow up and nothing happens. You are now at risk of appearing very ineffective to your DR, but you did nothing wrong. Just wondering if anyone here has dealt with this, and how. It seems to happen quite a bit around here.

cjp147's picture

I think you can simply let your direct report know that you put the request in with your boss and he has not had a chance to answer yet.  I would embellish (if necessary) that he (your boss) has been busy.  And then I would let your direct know when the next time you plan on following up with your boss (btw, I would not do this everyday).  If your boss continues to ignore the request after three or four attempts, then I think you have to drop it.  Without knowing the exact request, it is hard to give more specific advice on what you would ultimately tell the DR.  

jmoskovitz's picture

Maybe your boss has to ask his boss, who has to ask his boss, who has to ask his boss.....Who knows? Not likely, but some companies work this way.  There could be a variety of reasons your request has been put on the back burner, or even ignored.  You may never know.

The important thing is to maintain the trust of your DR by being authentic and honest, which doesn't mean you have to say everything (for example, "my boss is an idiot," does no one any good). 

Personally, after a few times, as CJP stated, I would drop the DR's request, but I would figure out a way to find out the reason for the non-response.  "No" is a more acceptable answer than none at all.  This suggestion is up to you, depending on what kind of relationship you have with your boss, but in my experience, in the absence of information, people tend to fill that gap with negative assumptions.  Perhaps you can even share this with your boss, using a variation of the M-T feedback model: "Boss, several weeks ago, I had asked if John (your DR) could develop a new marketing campaign for product x.  When I was unable to respond, he asked if we intend to spin off  the product x division.  If I don't give him an answer, you know how quickly rumors like that can spread.  Can you help me out here?  That may get you the answers to all of your questions, without putting the boss on the defensive.

Just my thoughts.  Good luck.