I was approached by my Boss and she told me that she didn't think I was managing one of my Directs well.


The Boss has been "skipping" me in working with this Direct and palling around with her at work and at conferences.


Now my Boss told me she wants to realign this Direct out from under me to be a peer.

There will still be about 25% of assignments and tasks for which she must report to me.  However, the other 75% she will report directly to the Boss.

And the Boss will do the Annual Reviews.

I hired this direct 1 1/2 year ago.

I gave this Direct a great review.

I get along well with this direct and she is a very high performer.

This Direct is a fellow Degreed Professional.   (Whereas my other Directs are FrontLine Paraprofessionals)


The Boss has always complimented me on how I manage my other directs (for 7 years).


When the Boss asked me what I thought :

1. I asked for specific examples that prompted this idea. And got some.

2. I asked for more time, she agreed to allow 3 months to improve. 

This is what prompted me to listen to and join Manager Tools

I plan to start doing O3's with her and roll out the Trinity to the rest of my directs in the coming year.  

I thought this was a good start since one of the major complaints was that I did not know enough about what my Direct has been doing and all of the projects she has been working on with the Boss. 

How else should I handle this ?


Any Ideas or suggestions are welcome.





mattpalmer's picture

I'm curious about exactly what you *want* out of this situation?  Your direct back?  Your boss to stop interfering?  I don't see a clear problem to be solved here, so it's hard to give specific recommendations on how to achieve the outcome you want.

As far as the question you did ask ("how else should I handle this?"), I'll say this: Let it go.  This direct is different to the other members of your team. Your boss gave you a chance to improve, and clearly you didn't meet your boss' expectations.  You're not losing your team, merely one (slightly out of place) member.

Take this as an opportunity to improve your skills in managing the people who you already do good work with.  Demonstrate that your managerial abilities are growing over time, and you'll get more opportunities in the future to grow your career to manage more higher-level people.


uncleauberon's picture



Thanks for the response.


January will be the 2nd of the 3 months (unless the Boss changes her mind over the holiday).

The hire was a chance to learn how to manager a junior professional.

Losing a direct because of poor management is also a professional and personal blow to me. 

I should also think it would not look good for me in the eyes of everyone else in the organization.


The Boss claims to be grooming me for her position.  How else can I learn this if she takes one out of my hands ?


I want to grow as a manager... and make her proud.  Rise to her challenge.




rvladimiro's picture

I don't see an issue in this. I even feel you are taking it a bit personally. If you gave a great review and there's a position open for her to be your peer, then congratulations, you and her did a great work to the point that she needs to be managed by your manager.

I understand that you feel weird about it but is there a chance that what your boss is telling you is that it is time for your direct to rise to be your peer and not really a matter of you failing?

I've been in a position where a close friend was hired to work as my direct. By that time he was no more than a junior system engineer, pretty much working on a company with some size for the first time. He grew in the organisation and ended up leaving for a major IT firm because the company went bankrupt. I left a bit later. Around two years later he hired me I was his direct. I could not have been prouder than working for the a very close friend whose career I helped flourish.

I can't find in your posts anything that relates to managerial failure, quite the opposite. You hired and retained talent. The organisation benefited from it.

naraa's picture
Training Badge

 UncleA, I tend to agree with the comments that you may need toilet this one go and that it may have more to do with the direct rising to a peer level and most likely your boss wanting to manage a high achiever and not admitting it then you failing.  Every one likes to manage a high performer.  That said, also because you say your boss is grooming you for here position I will try to find out exactly where you can improve, which may not necessarily be with this direct.  I agree with you not giving up, but don't make it a case that if you lose this direct you have fail, you have not failed because the first rule for managers is hire well, and you have done that!

The single most common mistake I have seen in difficulties between manager and direct is not changing one's management style to suit each directs specific communication style.  If you have just recently started listening to manager tools my recommendation for you to catch up and listen to all DISC related casts.  I am only guessing here because i don't have enough information, but it seems that you herphas are not challenging your direct enough.  Are you a high I or high S and your direct a high D and also your boss?  What do you mean by a great review?  A great review for a high D or high C is good for salary increase but high D's expect to be recognized and made accountable specifically for the results they are getting and if you don't know enough about the projects your direct is working on you are not doing that.  High C's expect to know what they should improve upon, because they themselves usually know that and expect the boss to hold them to a high standard too.

Identify your communication style, that of your direct and that of your boss and my guess is you may understand what is going on.

And keep us posted, with more specific information, like the examples your boss gave you, we can be more specific too and help you more.

Good luck!  And remember that you have not failed regardless of what happens with respect to this direct!  You are a better manager already just because of this fact!


uncleauberon's picture

 I'd like to thank you all for helping me get better perspective on this.


The examples that my Boss gave me are good ones.  I was asked to report on all the things my direct had been doing and I drew many blanks.  I actually could not put into words everything she was doing.

I was also asked how my participation as her manager with her could improve her performance.  Again I drew quite a blank.  She is a high performer that does a very good job.  Takes on new projects no matter who assigns them and runs with the ball.  I have never done her job before so I am of little resource on how to do it better.

After a lengthy discussion with my Boss she has decided that she will realign my Direct anyway.  Without the next 2 months of letting me try to improve.  I know that's what she really wanted to do anyway.

My Boss has agreed to let me do Peer One-on-One's with her so that I'm informed about her activities.  Except I am not allowed to schedule them - I have to do it "ad hoc" each week with her.


I tried to explain my attempts to improve, but I did defer to her by telling her that if the re-alignment made sense for the organization that I would understand.  

Strange thing though,  my Boss told me that if my management improved with my other directs that she would consider changing the position back under my department.  I don't see how that wouldn't be confusing and disruptive to my Direct -  so I'm pretty much going to assume that will never happen.

If anything - your help here has made me be able to live with the fact that this is really what my Boss wanted to do anyway.

And that I shouldn't feel too bad since I hired her and trained her up to this point.

My (former) Direct is a wonderful woman and I don't see any problem with dealing with her as a peer.  In fact, it will simplify my life by giving me one less Direct to manage and less responsibilities in my Department.

Thanks for the advice