I have a really helpful, great boss,let's call him Peter and I have always had a great relationship with him and his brother, let's call him Paul whom I also work with. Recently, my boss's brother, Paul asked me if I could help him with conducting interviews for him. As he did not cc his brother, Peter, and Paul works at a different office, I told Peter, and asked him if he wanted me to do it. My boss, Peter got mad at his brother, Paul as he didn't want me to do it, and was not happy that his brother had asked me to do his interviews, without checking with him. When I let Paul know that I couldn't do it as I had my own interviews to do, he was very understanding. But...my boss clearly had a talk with him as after that whenever I emailed Paul, he didn't respond to any of my emails. Just a couple of days ago, we were supposed to work on something together but after a week, Paul finally responded letting me know that he wouldn't be able to, and cc'd his brother on it.

Did I do something wrong? How can I fix things with my boss's brother, Paul who seems to be mad at me? Paul used to be my go to whenever I had any questions, he would help me, and I would do the same whenever he had any questions. Would appreciate your advice. Thank you!

closed as too broad by Dukeling, Snow, Jim G., gnat, Daniel Nov 15 '17 at 11:43

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  • 5
    Fixing the relationship essentially has very little to do with what you did, and seems fairly broad and is possibly more of an interpersonal than a workplace question (not sure if there's any workplace-specific advice for fixing a relationship). – Dukeling Nov 15 '17 at 5:20
  • One thing you may have done differently - Instead of going to Peter, you could have replied to Paul: Shure I´ll do it, I just have to confirm with Peter first as you know, he pays me That would have given him a heads-up that he should work things out with his brother, first. Also you where not completely honest about the reason you didn´t do it. The rest fits better to Interpersonal. – Daniel Nov 15 '17 at 12:01
  • This seems more like Peter and Paul are the ones with a rocky relationship. – Jonathon Cowley-Thom Nov 15 '17 at 14:34

Did I do something wrong?

I think you did nothing wrong here, so there is probably nothing to "fix".

Your boss is Peter (not his brother), and you report to him. You did the right thing in asking for clearance to take such interviews, as you surely have other tasks to do that were actually assigned to you officially. Also doing things without approval from your boss can get you in serious trouble, so it is always better to CYA (besides you did not know this was going to cause him any trouble).

Seems to me that Paul either (1) decided to ask you without consulting your boss, with the hopes of getting some free help or (2) asked your boss, got denied, but still tried to go forward with his plan and ask you individually.

Anyways, seems like Paul didn't get what he was seeking, and that is why he is probably "mad" with you (actually, it is more likely he is mad with himself for not being able to pull this out).

I feel that no relationship has been broken here, probably he is still a bit sore, and will take him some time to forget about this (how much depends on his personality, or if he is not resentful), but I am sure that eventually this will be over and things among you will go back to normal.

  • It seems that the relationship with Paul has been informally positive. By asking your boss, which was formally ok, you raised the relationship to the formal level. Yes, you did formally the right thing, but created a situation where your interaction has been brought to the formal level from a friendly, informal one. This is unfortunate, but on the long run, preferable, because you less depend on moods of the people involved. – Captain Emacs Nov 15 '17 at 9:13

You did nothing wrong but in my opinion it would have been better to ask Paul to get permision from your boss. For example

Paul can you please get Peter permision for this interviews.

Peter got mad mostly because he thought his brother worked behind his back, not because of the interviews. And Paul regarded your action as a kind of complaint or snithcing. All this would have been avoided if Paul talked to Peter first.

Patience and time is probably the best remedy. At some point Paul will ask you something, and gradually the whole thing will be forgotten.


Peter is your boss, Paul is not. Your relationship with Paul shouldn't really be your primary concern.

It sounds as though Paul overstepped the mark, by asking you to do work for him without checking first with Peter. This is something for Peter and Paul to work out amongst themselves. It's not your problem.

You did the right thing by clearing things with Peter, so I think you should be fine.

Keep the boss happy first and foremost.

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