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Context: Until a few years ago, I worked for A. A worked and still works for B. I was then moved directly under B for some technical reason (product ownership), but that reason has gone long since. I was informed of the change of reporting line back then, but I had no say in it.

Since I have been reporting to B, B gained a couple more reports, all of them team leads. I am only an individual contributor.

Problem: While I passed my yearly reviews by B (and also previously A) with flying colours, B doesn't seem to recognise or even respect me as a report. A few things that support this:

  • B leaves to go on holiday, business trip etc. without telling my directly. I usually hear it indirectly from A, but even then only vaguely. I never get to see the full picture (return date etc.).
  • B pulls one-on-one handovers and updates with all his other reports, but not with me. I attribute this to the fact that I am an individual contributor only while B's other reports are team leads. However, B is also doing one-on-one updates with C, who is a report of A and also a team lead. This leads me to think that my contributions are completely unimportant to B, and don't warrant the current reporting lines. My updates to B go in the form of a weekly report to an email distributor of A's reports where B is CCed on, but I have to push them. There is no interest by B to pull them.
  • Team emails are sent to all of B's reports except to me. This leads to the not-so-nice scenario that I'm not aware of what is happening in the organisation, since A also doesn't include me in his updates to his team.
  • Project work and performance: The contributions I make only A benefits from them, since they are for the projects that A lead. B doesn't care about these projects at all, they are not his responsibility. On the other hand, because A thinks I'm reporting to B, A doesn't need to look after my project work. As a consequence, my performance reviews, while all above the average, are full of generalities and platitudes, because neither A nor B actually know (read: care about) what I'm working on, although I keep them updated constantly.

The current reporting lines don't make sense to me at all. Would it be fair to ask B to simply let C and I switch places in the reporting lines? And if so, how would I go about it?

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    You seem to be in the enviable position of being trusted to perform... no one knows or cares about the details of what you're doing because they trust you to do an excellent job and inform them of anything they need to know with no nonsense.... pretty valuable employee – Kilisi Dec 10 '18 at 8:27
  • Initially I thought that's the case too. But trust would come with responsibility and also some authority. I have neither. – Naumann Dec 10 '18 at 11:29
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    not necessarily, a valued employee doesn't always get moved much, they're doing a great job where they are, why fix what isn't broken/ Some people do the same job for a decade, so long as their pay keeps rising why complain? – Kilisi Dec 10 '18 at 11:32
  • why complain Because they still want a career? But that's off-topic. My question was about an odd reporting structure. Whether valuable or not, I still think I deserve to be kept in the loop, at the very minimum. – Naumann Dec 10 '18 at 12:34
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    Great, rock the boat, it might work or might not. Show some ambition. Not everyone is content with just doing a solid job and getting payrises regularly. That's fairly normal as well. – Kilisi Dec 10 '18 at 12:36
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Would it be fair to ask B to simply let C and I switch places in the reporting lines?

Since C appears to be a completely uninvolved party, it would not be fair for you to suggest a reorganization involving C (or anyone else for that matter).

Instead, talk to your boss (apparently B). Indicate that you feel out of the loop. Discuss your confusion about the reporting relationship. Ask for more clarity and about what you can do to be more in the loop.

Don't just jump in and ask to be reorganized. Look for clues as to why you are working for B now rather than A.

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Overall the situation seems to be in your favor as in you are promoted (kind-of) one level up. I think you should just try to leverage this to make best of it for your career.

Would it be fair to ask B to simply let C and I switch places in the reporting lines?

No. You can ask about your own reporting structure but mentioning another employee who has nothing to do with you and asking to change their structure could sound like unnecessary interfering.

As a consequence, my performance reviews, while all above the average, are full of generalities and platitudes, because neither A nor B actually know

This last line of your last point is the only real concern I see. Rest is all office dynamics and you should try to get adjusted to.

You can try to resolve this by directly scheduling meetings with B even if they are not scheduling with you. You can talk about details of your work to him and if he sounds uninterested ask if you should also set up reviews with A.

In either case, B is your manager now and work with B best to be part of his regular discussions. Work with A as required or instructed by B. And completely forget what C does or where C should be.

  • you are promoted (kind-of) one level up It wasn't a promotion. Neither came it with more responsibility, nor with more authority. This was done purely such that B can a have a project that I was looking after closer to him, bypassing A effectively. could sound like unnecessary interfering It could, but then it also makes more sense to have it that way. If B wants updates from C, why not have C report to B directly? – Naumann Dec 10 '18 at 3:46

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