Can a direct have a one on one with 2 bosses in the same week?

We have a situation where we have a person who essentially works for 2 bosses.   I have started one on ones some months back and they are so effective that the other boss isn't happy that due to the relationship being stronger on my side my stuff is taking preference.

To be honest i am not happy that his stuff is not getting done as it affects us both , and i am sure the answer is not to degrade my relationship with the direct to his level.

His exact words are "Those meetings your having are making her prioritise your work, and i am suffering as a result"



GlennR's picture

My first reaction is probably the same as everyone else who participates in this forum; that is to proclaim what an idiot the other manager is. But that's an emotional response, not a constructive suggestion.

At it's heart an 03 serves to build an effective relationship between the direct and the manager by using communication. The easier reaction is to think that all the other manager has to do is to conduct them as well. Unless he or she buys into the 03 philosophy, I doubt they will be all that effective. The burden then falls to the direct to reassure the other manager that tasks/projects given to the direct will be done right, on time, and under budget.

That means that the two are going to have to engage in some sort of regular communication or misunderstandings will result. If the manager is unwilling to do 03's, then perhaps a regular email or other written report will work. I'm guessing that the assumption here is that the direct doesn't have time for two 03's in one week. Let me just say two words: "Priority Management," and leave it at that. I'm guessing the creation of a written report or email and the managers response, if any, would take the same amount of time, but again, you have to consider the manager's mindset.

Meanwhile you could attempt to tactfully influence your peer manager on the effectiveness of 03's but listing specific examples of how they made you and your direct more productive. Ask him or her to try it for a month.  Or consider alternating 03's so that each manager has a meeting with the direct every two weeks. Not optimal, but it could work.

And because it's been over a month since I've posted this quote here, let me leave you with, "90% of all management problems are caused by miscommunication."  --Dale Carnegie. (That includes "uncommunication," as well.)




discovery's picture

Thanks Glenn

In my head the best approach is to influence my peer to do them.  Ill keep you posted on the results



drenn18's picture
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Good luck with this situation. I just started O3s and I'm one of 4 bosses sharing 40 directs. Your example makes me want to start bringing the results of these O3s to our manager meetings each week. Hopefully I can prevent any complaints from my team like the one you heard from your peer. Thanks for sharing your experience, you may have just made my team more effective by doing so!


naraa's picture
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 Stephen, I thought perhaps what you can do if your peer is not conducting the o3's is for you to find out from your peer what staff is important for him each week and you yourself also remind your direct to attend to those issues too. And share with your peer what is important for you.  I find that it is really effective when someone has two bosses that the two bosses ask for the same things, sort of each one validating the others request.  The bosses need to be aligned for the work to get done. Otherwise it can indeed be difficult for the direct to attend to both.

What I found interesting from your post is the different perspective you and your peer have of the situation and I wanted to congratulate you on yours. The world seem to be divided into two types of people: those that see the effect of their actions on the outside world and those that see the effect of the actions of others on their own world. The world needs a lot more of the first type, which is the one you fit in, and less of the latter.  I have very little patience left for sentences like your peers, so your action of making your peers problem your own concern and trying to find out how you could help him it is a very nice reminder to have patience, and keep modifying ones one actions to improve the situation, even if the obvious would be to think that the other person, rather than saying:

"those meetings you are having are making her prioritize your work and I am suffering as a result"

Should say

"Those meetings you are having are making her prioritize your work and I will start having those too so she will also prioritize mine too."


discovery's picture

Thanks David

I hope  yours go well, and your peers take it up also.  I can testify they work.

Time to try a little peer feedback, wish me luck


discovery's picture

 Nara, your right its important that our direct is not being pulled in two directions.   I will speak to her about my peers need also, as our needs are very similar


edzaun's picture

 Hi Stephen,

 I am  not in your situtation and so I thought about how I would handle the circumstances you describe.

BLUF answer: By instituting O3's you have raised the bar. Natural selection is at work and those who cannot or will not compete will suffer.


Your peer acknowledges the O3's you do are having the desired affect; the direct is performing better for you because she has a better relationship with you. Instead of complaining that what you are doing is causing him to suffer, he should be asking you to help him learn how to catch up. If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets. He can see the results of your techniques but does not want to use them. This, to me is the same as a person who wants to be a major league pitcher but does not want to practice.

You have raised the bar and that is a secondary purpose of MT. Mike and Mark frequently say they want to help people become better managers and it appears they do. They also frequently use the phrase, "In the land of the Blind, the one-eyed person is King or Queen". This means you do not have to be a perfect manager, you simply have to be a little better than anyone else. This is important because it underlies everything.

You can lead a person to Knowledge but you can't make them Think. Your peer has seen the effect of your methods. If he does not react to the change in environment you have created, he will fall behind and may be in jeopardy. It is the simple truth. If we were concerned about others not keeping up with our advancements, we would still be dodging road apples rather than driving high tech cars and flying around the globe. You are solely responsible for only your own behaviors and to a limited extent, those of your directs. You are in no way responsible for the behaviors of your peers.

That is the High D answer. Humanity counsels moderation.

Naraa's position is the first thing I would try: Leverage your superior relationship with the common direct to provide feedback. Remind her she also works for your peer and needs to pay attention to that part of her job. If you follow MT principles and truly love your directs as people, it is your duty to keep her as productive and effective as possible. If your peer starts to think she is working against him and wants her fired, you have not done everything you could to help her and prevent that.

You should use the peer to peer feedback model to help your peer understand the consequences of his behaviors. Once you have done everything you can to help your peer, if he refuses to help himself you are have a clear conscience.

It sounds to me like you have a sense of responsibility for your peer. That is admirable and I would suggest doing what you can and letting the chips a fall where they will, but in every event, make sure your common direct does not splashed by fall out from a bad boss.


Ed Zaun

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