I am a department head in a mid-sized nonprofit agency. Another department head with much more seniority than me refuses to work with me. She consistently goes behind my back to her staff or over my head to supervisors. This involves all kinds of issues pertaining to my work where she wishes to have input or that involves any of her staff. I am mystified by this behavior and prefer the direct approach - come talk to me about anything that involves both our departments. The most recent occurrence involved a project that had been discussed and accepted in a meeting with her. Later that afternoon she instructed her staff to not return to me the informational forms I had sent to them. Rather than letting me know in advance about her concerns or decisions she cut me out of the process and it took me two days to figure out why I was not receiving paperwork.
In any given week I may get a summons from a superior to discuss something that she has brought to them (not problems, usually just normal operational decisions). In these meetings I try to not get my feelings involved but it is difficult to ignore that perhaps she thinks I don't belong there. I have tried every way I can think of to be conciliatory and to be open to and inclusive of her departmental needs and her managerial wishes. In each of these actions I have focused on the issue at hand and worked to meet her where she is. I have NOT yet had an angry outburst or confronted her about her behavior. My goals are to forge a working relationship with her, but I'm beginning to wonder if it is possible. I would love to hear suggestions, interpretations, alternate viewpoints. At the end of the day, feeling demoralized is not helping me further our mission.