Training Badge
Submitted by tberge on


I need help with how to work on my relationship/communication with my direct and would like feedback on my proposed approach, which is this:

"Direct, Am calling to follow up to our discussion yesterday and your subsequent e-mail. Based on the fact that you used email to communicate your discomfort , coupled with copying HR, combined with your tendency not bring updates or be forthcoming with information at our regular meetings, really speaks to a communication breakdown that needs to be remedied.  As your supervisor, I am your rep and advocate to the rest of the company and I am only effective in this if we have effective communication, so I want to work on this with you.

Are you available on Monday to discuss further?"

Here is the e-mail that was sent just minutes after our last discussion:

"Boss,  Thank you for notifying me that you would like to be informed before I not bill to vacation when I worked over my regular hours for the week. I will notify you before I make the decision to not bill to “vacation” time vs using billable hours. However, I would appreciate it that in the future that discussions that are personal to me be handled in a more private setting. It find it very uncomfortable and inappropriate."

The discussion happened in the cubicle area with no nearby employees.  Immediate issues are:

  • coming to O3 with no updates
  • not keeping me informed on projects, etc. - I feel like I'm on a need to know basis
  • defensiveness when approached on issues like schedule or timecard
  • immediately sending an e-mail after our last conversation andy copying HR

The background is this:

  • person was brought over through an aquisition >2 years ago
  • her peers and managers have since left
  • have had some performance issues, which have been coached
  • recently survivied a layoff, and seems to acknoeldge that
  • is a part-time exempt employee
  • is argumentative with me from day 1


mauzenne's picture
Admin Role Badge

You're making it too complicated. Use the feedback model, keep it short, and don't give the feedback with any thoughts other than envisioning good performance in the future.

If you haven't listened to the feedback podcasts, please do IMMEDIATELY before taking any other actions. If you have listened to the casts, just USE THEM.

It really is that simple. Seriously.

tberge's picture
Training Badge

You're absolutely right. 

I'm wrapped around the axle on this after HR talked to my boss and my boss called me offering to "help".  The help was an offer to call the direct and hear them out and perhaps perform a 360 with my office staff.  I held the boss off, but not sure how well that came off.

I'll relisten to the feedback casts . . . I'll practice saying it while only thinking about future behavior . . . I'll practice saying it until I can do it with a smile and out of a sincere desire to help.

Thank you.

timrutter's picture

Just to back Mike up (like I'd argue against him!), I have been through a very similar situation in the last twelve months.

Stick to good feedback and O3's and it will carry you through this pinch. I would agree with keeping HR informed but at arms length if their approach is to encourage the direct to continue skipping you


tberge's picture
Training Badge

Had our O3 today and focused on future behaivor.  When the conversation went sideways and the direct went to justifying past actions/etc., I redirected to the future.  Thanks for reminding me to keep this simple and to go to the basic tools.  Thanks also for helping me know that this isn't unusual and I'm not alone!

TNoxtort's picture

Just my two cents, I thought your E-mail to him was very long winded and a little, I don't know, just way impersonal in the way it was worded.

RaisingCain's picture

One thing I missed in the original.
What were the actions taken that made him feel that involving hr was the best course of action?

Now that hr is involved it might make sense to keep then involved until it's resolved.

garethkhill's picture

One thing I noticed from the comments above is that your boss has offered a 360 and I would recommend that you seriously consider accepting this offer. Effective feedback is good for you just as it is for your directs and a 360 may help identify other areas where you could benefit.