I have an issue with someone who reports to me and is constantly going over me to my boss (this does not happen with any other of my subordinates). Recently, my boss answered this person and me saying we all need to meet to discuss issues I addressed that this person is not in agreement with what we should do as a company. I came back to my boss and insisted that we meet first as it is reducing my effectiveness to manage the team and the area that I manage. (thanks to the great advice I got here !) He phoned me and agreed.

This person (subordinate) is refusing to include me on issues and will agree with me on a proposed direction and then go to my boss having changed their mind. They work as a silo not divulging information and not wanting to share how things are going on in their area. In addition, they cancel many meetings and phone calls with me (I have noted dates and times) and when they do ring, it can be from the supermarket or the side of a football pitch ! (This person does not work full time). When looking at this person's output, it's not all they make it out to be and I have proof they are lying on certain issues.

Any advice on how to deal with her. I run a programme that should be the same in a number of area's when rolled out e.g. like a big mac, it should taste the same no matter where you eat it but sometimes it should have a coke with it and sometimes a beer (if that makes sense). This person just wants to do everything their own way and dip in as they like.

I would very much appreciate advice on how to deal with this. My boss is a very nice guy but hates confrontation.

  • If this person is a subordinate, not pulling their weight, and causing problems in your unit, the solution seems pretty clear. Do you have unilateral termination power over your direct reports?
    – sleddog
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 15:47
  • 1
    No unfortunately I don't and I don't think my boss would make this kind of call. However, this person contract is up soon and will be looking for a renewal - they sent a discussion document recently on this and I wasn't included again on it... so yet another problem I can't even see what they are proposing ?
    – SBW
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 15:51
  • 3
    I think the root of your issue is when your boss is answering directly to the guy instead of redirecting it to you, this send the message that he is not subordinate. I do not think it is possible to do anything as long this issue is not resolved.
    – Tom Sawyer
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 20:47
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    What's interesting about this question is the number of times we hear questions that say things like "my immediate superior doesn't listen to me; should I speak to his immediate superior?". It's interesting to hear the same story from a different view point. It's worth you taking some time to engage in some introspection about whether you are creating the kind of atmosphere in your team which allows your subordinates to feel they can come to you with their concerns. Clearly this individual doesn't. Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 14:18
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    All my subordinates come to me and I have a great team athmosphere apart from this one person who really doesn't want to report to me - which I believe is the bigger issue. In any event my boss dealt with it exactly as I wanted to and hopefully things will improve now.
    – SBW
    Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 16:10

3 Answers 3


Your boss may hate confrontation, but you're going to need his support on this. Go talk to him and explain how having her go over your head is undermining your authority. And you would like to have his support and in a meeting with the three of you, have him tell her that she needs to go to you, not him.

And your boss needs to support you in this, and the next time she goes to him, he needs to direct her back to you.

If you don't get that support, you can tell her she needs to come to you, but it's likely that she won't.


You were right to meet with your boss first, before a grand meeting of all three.

When you go talk to your boss, have clear in your own mind what you want to do with your team member.

Tell your boss the problem you are having with this person (not a list of grievances, just a general problem) and more importantly tell your boss what you want to do about it (fire her, per her on a Performance Improvement Program, transfer her, etc.). Then ask your boss for support.

If you want your boss to reject her appeals to your boss, then indicate that. (That would be my preference, but you need to decide.) If you want your boss to tell her to stop going over your head, then make that clear, too.

You shouldn't make this your bosses problem if at all possible. This person reports to you. Instead, make it clear what your plan is and tell your boss that you need support in order for your actions to be effective.

You are the manager, so you should manage, not just list problems and dump them off on your boss - that's not what being a manager is about.

  • Thanks I have a list of notes and things that have been happening etc. So I guess I am on the right track. I know my managment (yellow personality type) down fall is that I like everyone to like me and therefore, I need to be strong on this one !
    – SBW
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 16:18
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    In addition to listing the problems you are having, have an "impact statement" for each problem as to the effect it has on the company, either in productivity, extra expense, or lost revenue. Your boss's responsibility is to the company, not to you, and not to her. Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 19:40
  • @JoeStrazzere evancarmichael.com/library/colette-morris/…
    – Walfrat
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 12:40
  • Seems like it's a bit more serious than that business people : general-psychology.knoji.com/… Though i feel like i'm somewhat between red & blue :D
    – Walfrat
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 12:55
  • Is this the latest fad to replace the discredited "Type A/Type B", "Left-brain/right-brain" and "learning styles" pseudo-science? I wonder what the next one will be after this. Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 14:22

It is pretty clear it is time to cut this person loose. If you need evidence of misconduct in the area you are, it seems you have more than enough. If they are part time or contract, just don't renew the contract.

  • It has been suggested to me that I need to offer him some solutions to this person/issue but to be honest. I believe the only option is to get rid of her. I have tried to work with her now for over two years trying every strategy and can't think of any resolution apart getting someone to replace her.
    – SBW
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 21:30
  • I mean you have been offering solutions for 2 years now. Seems like you are 1.5 years past the point when this should have been resolved. Too many companies are reluctant to get rid of people for fear they will sue. Reality in most US states anyway, you don't need a reason and you sound like you have plenty of evidence. Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 22:18

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