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Submitted by pjbate on


Hi everyone, as always I find manager tools amazing. I think I've got a tricky one here. I have a direct who has been deployed into a project as the project support officer (comms/meetings/minutes etc.) with a Project Manager who is a peer of mine. So essentially my direct is 'borrowed' for the duration of this project with dotted line report to the P.M.. 

I have regular one on ones with my direct and they always go very well. Recently my direct has gone around the Project Manager's back by speaking with the Project's Executive to get green lights on little things such as capturing information for the project putting up communication posters that have not been properly approved by either the project manager or the executive. She gets around this by saying to one or the other that Person A (or B) said they were ok with it.  Sort of like 'asking Mom, then asking Dad' 

The P.M. and the Executive will be holding a meeting with my direct with regards to this behaviour - which I've only seen within the project.  I am not great with conflict and would prefer that they sorted it out between the three of them. Or should I 'man up' and be there to as her 'general' manager?  Any guidance or if you've been in this situation before I'd be very grateful for any suggestions. 

Thanks all! 


engineering_mgr's picture

Prior to the meeting, I would discuss with your direct how you expect her to behave on a project team, i.e. respecting the hierarchy (why play around with it on "little things"?), with the consequence that the project's management is having to undo the resulting confusion, plus likely has less trust in her thus making it more difficult for her to do her job. You need to prep her for the meeting: 'hearing' the project management's criticism rather than defending herself, explaining how she will do things differently in the future. Then be there in the meeting. You need to know to know what they tell her, and how she responds.

mrreliable's picture

Agree with engineering_mgr. I've had these situations occur in the past, with directs pushing initiatives (that by coincidence were self-serving) by saying I had directed them to do so. The first time I took a more laid back approach. It took me a long time to clean up the mess, because other directs changed their procedures thinking I had issued the directive. Whether it's intentional or not, they're messing with your authority and your image. Now I jump on these situations immediately before too many cats get out of the bag.