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I am a team leader managing several members. Recently my manager has been interviewing my team members for one-on-ones without informing me first.

I understand that my management has every right to speak with my team members as they are above me in the hierarchy, but I feel uncomfortable.

I want to bring this up with my management, but I am worried that being direct may make them think I am hiding something. How can I bring this up with my management without raising any alarms?

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    Could you clarify the relations between you, your reporting manager and your team? Does the team technically report to the manager? Do you? – Telastyn Jan 4 '14 at 19:22
  • @telastyn I do not have much to report to him as it is quite an independent team. I do have very supporting team mates and its a healthy friendly relation with them (otherwise wouldn't hv known about the meeting) – neeks Jan 5 '14 at 19:08
  • that's not what I mean. What is the organizational hierarchy? – Telastyn Jan 5 '14 at 19:32
  • There are no right or wrong its all survival of fittest. You can make him involve you by introducing inconsistencies in a smart way.Rotate tasks between your team mates and give them smaller independent module so that wholesome idea of project stays with you do it in such a way that project is not delayed...make sure without you your team members are just informed about pieces of jigsaw but not the whole picture – amar Jan 6 '14 at 6:55
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    The phrase "my team" could be ambiguous. It sounds like you're the manager of your team, and your manager is meeting with your subordinates without informing you, but that's not 100% clear from your question. On my first reading, I thought that you were just a member of the team concerned about your manager meeting with your peers. You might consider updating the question to clarify that point. – Keith Thompson Jan 6 '14 at 19:43
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We do have such meetings in my previous company and we call it Skip Meeting. Generally its a good way to share the feedback of immediate manager to his reporting manager. But its healthy and absolutely fine if done once in a while specially while appraisals are going on ;).

But seems in your case, your manager is trying to ignore you and want to take control of the things directly. That's not a good sign. I would suggest (depending upon your relation with your manager) to have a healthy discussion in case you are not providing the proper information about your resources reporting to you. Try out whats the matter.

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You should approach reporting manager and tell him it is necessary for you to understand where your team members are spending time as to not delay or miss deadlines. Collaboration is needed between the two of you and ask if there is something that you aren't providing or a better route for you to provide the information he/she seeks. Throw yourself in the middle, you may take on additional tasks of some weekly status updates, but your team will be happier as I am sure they are thoroughly irritated, especially if having to relay the same information they've already had to provide to you. You are the leader.

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During your one on one with your manager (which is a red flag if you're not having), bring it up. There's a few different routes to take, which have different advantages depending on your manager and your personality:

  1. Focus on the team - by focusing on your team, you provide the image that you have their best interests at heart, which in turn will make your boss start discussing how these meetings help your team. A good tact here is to focus on "team members need a single voice directing them". Nobody likes having many bosses, and having different (occasionally conflicting) direction is bad for the company.
  2. Focus on problems - by asking your boss what problem he's trying to solve (communication is poor? can he not evaluate your ability? has someone complained?) you can work to solve the problem rather than poo-poo your boss' solution for it.
  3. Focus on communication - by focusing on you not knowing that this was going on, you're presenting a problem for your boss to solve (ideally with a proposed solution). If your boss loves solving problems, this can be a quick and easy way to get in the loop.

The main thing here is not to be angry about things, or to assign blame. And whatever you do, avoid being possessive of "your" team. Protective is okay, as long as the focus is on doing the best thing for the team (and by extension, the company). Possessive is not.

The goal is to point out that this sort of thing can be detrimental to the team (and by extension, the company), and that you'd like to compromise on something better. You don't want him confusing your team or undermining you or sucking up all their time. Your manager wants... something. Start by finding out what that is.

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