I have one line manager on the contract, but my performance review (including salary increase, promotion, etc.) will be decided by three directors of whom I am a shared resource.

And there's lots of conflict. We have tried multiple methods to try and reach agreement, manage time and priorities among the three directors, but there are are very strong and sometimes verbal conflicts, which tells me that either their common boss is giving them conflicting instructions or their common boss doesn't know that I am used as a shared resource. The way the speak with each other when they argue gives me the impression that they assume director A has one information, but in fact has another.

Worst of all, they expect me to channel all the required information among the three of them, but I am usually the last to find out whatever was told to them by their boss... ultimately I am blamed for not having done things I never knew about.

So I think, if the common source and common denominator of this conflict is their common boss (the CEO in this case) shouldn't I bring the issue to the CEO to figure out how to solve this?

It's a huge communication issue and everyone expects either the other two directors to know it, or me to tell it - but I am literally the last person who gets to know the information.

Should I tell the CEO, and if yes, what's the most professional way to do so?

  • Is one of the directors your line manager or is that a fourth person? – Myles Oct 14 '14 at 21:30
  • It's one of them. But the other directors tell me that he's my boss "only on paper" and ultimately all three will decide on my career growth and future. – CorporateHero Oct 14 '14 at 22:05
  • see also: How do I respectfully go above my manager? – gnat Oct 15 '14 at 9:00

Start with your line manager. Lay out your concerns in writing and give him a chance to address them. Include examples and explain the impact on your work. Be as specific and unemotional as you can be. Ask for what you need (ex: "In order to make sure I meet deadlines, I need to be copied on all emails from A and B. Is that possible?"

It is hard to know whether talking to the CEO is a good idea without knowing more about your organization. If things don't get better after addressing it with your line manager, though, you probably have nothing to lose.

Try something like: "I seem to have three managers with conflicting agendas, and it is affecting my work by X. I have tried resolving this with my line manager (email attached), but things have not improved. I am not sure what to do next, and your advice would be appreciated."

Be prepared that this is a situation that might not turn out well.

  • +1 for being specific, and also for being prepared that this may not turn out well. (In fact, I'd be sort of surprised if it does turn out well...) – Jenny D Oct 15 '14 at 6:26

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