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My boss has asked that I invite him to my weekly team meetings, which I consider to be inappropriate. How can I respond?

My concerns are that my (micro-managing) boss will potentially undermine my position at the meetings but also violate the safe space that I foster for team members to let off steam, and worry that some of the more introverted members will feel uncomfortable sharing what they’re working on and the team collaborating in front of their bosses boss…

Am I overreacting? Is this a perfectly reasonable request and if so; should I establish some ground rules etc.?

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  • 1
    A quick answer could be to make this meeting as boring and time-wasting for him as possible :-)
    – puck
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 11:48
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    What are their reasons for wanting to join that meeting?
    – Jeroen
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 11:49
  • 1
    Are you sure he wants to join them regularly or just in one or two instances? the second case shouldn't be that much of an issue I'd think
    – skippy
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 12:06
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    This is a one-sided argument. There is no information on the boss' intentions or specific reasons to want to join. All we have to go on is your concern, which (as far as the question goes) is unsubstantiated.
    – Flater
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 12:07
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    I guess it would make a lot of sense to tell us what happens in this meeting. So far, we know it's with your team and once a week. What is your position in those meetings and what is discussed in those meetings?
    – nvoigt
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 15:44

2 Answers 2

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Am I overreacting?

Yes, unless you have some past history or evidence that the boss' attendance would cause negative issues that you are worrying about.

Is this a perfectly reasonable request

Yes. It is entirely reasonable that someone higher up the management chain can observe work in progress. If this work is summarising or planning tasks that happen at other times, it may be a positive change that reduces amount of reports and explaining that you or the team are required to do.

and if so; should I establish some ground rules etc.?

You may want to clarify any role that the boss wants to take in the meeting. For instance, it could be really useful if they can be asked questions about priorities and tasks you are planning, so that you can make decisions in the meeting as opposed to take them away for a separate conversation with the boss.

Invite them to the meeting. See what happens. If there is behaviour from the boss or impact to team members' behaviour that you do not like, then address that if it actually happens.

If your concerns about being undermined or micromanagement seem valid to you after a couple of meetings, then bring them up in separate discussions with your boss as appropriate (I would not use those terms as they are somewhat charged).

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It’s possible that your boss wants to understand what your team does better, or just evaluate how well you are leading them. If you’ve got a good team and you’re working well together, increasing both your and the team’s visibility to higher levels of management can be a good thing. You should understand why the boss wants to attend, and if those reasons aren’t compatible with your team meeting, work with them to find another way to get them what they are hoping to get from attending the meeting.

If their reasons are compatible, then invite the boss and see how it goes. At the team meeting prior to the one the boss will attend, discuss their attendance with the team. If there are any concerns the team has, let your boss know about them. You should explain to the boss how the meeting works and any “rules” so they know what to expect.

If the boss’s presence is too disruptive after a few meetings, then you need to tell them and suggest a better way for them to understand the team’s work. Maybe it’s a regular status briefing or you schedule a monthly demonstration of what the team has accomplished.

Without knowing why your boss wants to be at the meeting, it’s difficult to give specific advice. Just focus on productivity. The team needs that meeting to be productive. Your boss needs information to be effective, but the team meeting may not be the most efficient way for them to get that information.

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