I am a Managing Director who supports the team of 15, tackles business problems and takes on special projects. I want to do one on ones with our team but they don't report to me. They report to two partners who are on the road a lot and have no regular meetings with the staff. Can I do it anyway? I think people would appreciate someone to talk to weekly but I'm wondering if it will muddy the waters.

mattpalmer's picture

You'd probably be looking for the "Project Manager One-on-Ones" cast, I think, which have a slightly different feel to a straight-up manager/direct O3. I think people would definitely appreciate you improving your relationships with them, and it will almost certainly increase your effectiveness.

Muddying the waters isn't a function of the one-on-one, it's all about what you do in them (and out of them).  If you're seen to be countermanding the instructions that the partners have given, you will definitely stir up the silt, creating confusion, ineffectiveness, and discord.  So don't do that.  Stick to building the relationship and talking about the projects and assignments that you have given directly.  Avoid the temptation to opine on the instructions of the partners, because your opinions will be taken as holy writ by the other person, and you can pretty much guarantee that sooner or later someone will say "I know you said X, but Maya said Y" to one of the partners, and then it's all downhill from there.  Practice the phrase, "I'd suggest talking to <partner> about that directly", and apply liberally as required.