I'm an in-house attorney and manage most of the outside counsel for my company. I've recently had two experiences that have put me in a bind as it relates to my boss. I'd like some input on what obligation I have to share feedback from third parties with my boss about her behavior; how I should react to it in the moment; and whether I should adjust my behavior to comport with it.
In one case, my boss and I have been teaming up negotiating a resolution to a pending dispute. At one critical juncture, our outside counsel asked if there was any way we could have the next meeting with the other side without my boss present. I said I doubted it, because she was committed to being there, but asked why. She said that the other side's counsel didn't like my boss, thought she was rude, combative, and didn't treat the other people on my company's team (including our outside counsel) with respect. Our lawyer believed that the negotiations could suffer if my boss was there. I asked our outside counsel if she agreed with the other side's assessment, and after a brief pause, she said no, but she thought it would be helpful to avoid future conflict if she wasn't there. I thanked her for the honest feedback and said I'd get back to her.
In another case, our outside counsel seemed stubbornly resistant to copying my boss on e-mail, despite my boss' repeated request to be copied. Because it kept turning into my job to forward the e-mails along, I asked the outside counsel why he didn't copy my boss. He said he wished he could just work with me, because everything became emotionally-charged and took twice as long when my boss got involved, but he understood the request to copy her and would do so. I said that would help a lot.
At this point, I haven't shared any of this feedback with my boss or anyone else. I'm afraid that if I shared it with her directly, it would come across as attempting to manage her (I don't disagree with the feedback, by the way), and it would only hurt our company's relationship with these very good lawyers. That said, both lawyers indicated that my boss' presence on the team was hurting our company's effectiveness, and that seems like the kind of information that shouldn't go unheard - even if she doesn't want to hear it. Any suggestions?