I am a High-C (I am a Civil Engineer after all), with strong S tendencies, and am having challenges dealing with my High-D skip boss. 

He exhibits all of the typical D behaviors, including being demanding, forceful, and impatient.  It is really frustrating when he tells me when to make phone calls or sets deadlines for projects he is not directly involved in.  He recently reprimanded me when I did not take a telephone call (I was in an O3 with a DR).  His biggest focus seems to be billable time, which I understand given the current economy.

I would appreciate any feedback or suggestions on how I can adjust my behavior to better deal with this skip boss.  I realize I will not change him.  Thank you all in advance for your help.

jhack's picture

Your "skip boss" is your boss's boss, correct? 

Where's your boss in all this?  Do you have his/her support?  How's your relationship?  

This is an important part of how you deal with the skip boss.  Let us know....  

John Hack

bacox's picture

John,  you are correct, I am referring to my boss's boss.  My boss, as well as others in our group, indicate "It's just the way he is".  He understands and has the same frustrations.  His approach seems to be: jump when the skip boss says jump. 

I think my relationship with my boss is good, although we do not have O3's. I have shown him what I do with my DRs, and said I would like to have a regular weekly meeting with him, but that has not materialized as of yet.  Feedback is infrequent, but not all negative. 

When I started with my company 14 months ago, my skip boss was my boss.  9 months ago, he was promoted to regional leader, and my current boss was promoted to our group leader.

I hope this helps to clarify the situation.  Thanks again.

jhack's picture

So he was your boss until recently - that certainly helps explain why he's comfortable coming directly to you.  

High D's (I'm a high D, high I, btw) like it when you get to the point.  And we don't mind conflict.  And we tend to not to dwell on things.  

You ask what you should do...  and you identify four things:  your general frustration, his telling you when to make a phone call, his setting deadlines for projects he doesn't lead, and his reprimand.  

Take his reprimand in stride.  It probably meant a lot less to him than it does to you.  It's hard for high S's to do this.  Let it go. 

If you can make the phone call when he asks you to, do it.  Think of it as an investment in his good will.  

Project deadlines are agreed to between the project manager and sponsor, I presume.  So thank him for his input, and put it on the agenda for the next project meeting.  Do a pre-wire if you think it will be controversial.  

That his focus is billable time strikes me as appropriate and sensible under the current climate.  Show him that you share his goal, and (tersely!) how you will support him.  Make sure your team is hitting utilitization targets, and let him know ("We hit 81% utilization last month against our goal of 80%, Bob").   Sounds too simple, but trust me, that will do more than anything else to improve your relationship with him.  He will forgive almost anything if you can honestly make that kind of statement.  

John Hack