BLUF: My direct said something negative about my manager towards a customer, and my manager overheard it.
During a customer dinner, my direct and a customer were talking and eventually the conversation led to the topic of my manager and his leadership style. Both were joking around and then my direct said something in a joking manner to the customer about how little she thinks that my manager is a capable leader and my manager overheard this.
Now the expression 'the s**t hits the fan pretty much describes the situation.
My manager did not say anything to my direct that evening. But he called me into the office and informed me that he is planning to confront my direct about this tomorrow and that I am not supposed to call my direct and give her advanced warning.
Co-workers who overheard the conversation confirmed that it happened that way. I myself was not at the event.
I am particularly surprised at this, as my direct and I have been working on a development plan for her, to get her promoted, which may now have fallen apart.
My question: Should I call her and hear her side of the story and give her heads up to prepare for the session with my boss? My boss can be quite emotional and so can my direct. There is the potential that this meeting can escalate to ultimate damage and I don't want to and can't afford to lose my direct at this stage.
Or should I just sit back and wait what happens?
Any advice is greatly appreciated.