Recently I conducted a review of a direct with my Director. At the review my direct proceeded to throw me under a bus by bringing up a litany of my perceived transgressions without previously bringing the concerns to me.
Much to my chagrin, my Director really took her side in the review and came down on me a bit harshly in the review with the direct, and then later during MY performance review gave me a great review, with some feedback on improving my relationship with my direct. My Director has done this in past reviews, and I believe she does this to make the direct feel comfortable in expressing concerns and to gather feedback that will help both me and my direct develop. A bit uncomfortable for me - but hey - she's the boss!
Since the review my direct's behaviour has become overtly hostile, with very short and snippy replies and starting strange argumentative discussions over the smallest thing, as well as going over my head to my Director when I assign a task or provide direction that she disagrees with. I believe she feels a bit empowered by my Director's reaction during her review.
My Director has noted this change in behaviour as well and I have spoken about it with her. She has asked me if she would like the three of us to sit down and address the issue, and I would much rather have the opportunity to address this first myself.
My direct has shown signs of being overwhelmed by the work, even admitted to feeling overwhelmed during her review, despite having several years of experience in her role at another organization. I previously performed her role while also managing the responsibilities of my current manager position, with fewer staff then I have now. The volume of work should not be the issue. I believe that my direct is not being forthcoming with the real cause of her discontent.
My issue is how to productively engage with a direct that feels empowered to cause disruption, and seems likely just to dig in and involve my Director rather than address her real concerns with me.