director of a department
Chain of Command
Question about Chain of Command
My employee is starting to boss me, what do i say?
Your employee is breaking the rules of communication set by the chain of command. Orders are meant to flow down, not up. He needs to be reminded of that, before his behavior spreads or escalates.
Once the offending employee feels he has the space to boss his boss around, he will start bossing others around, even going higher in the hierarchy and attempting to boss your boss. Others may follow suit.
I've seen this happen and it's not pretty.
To stop this behavior you have to confront the employee firmly and directly. You can't be subtle on this one, you have to make it absolutely clear that such behavior is unacceptable.
You can tell him something along these lines:
Steve, we need to talk about something that is affecting your performance in this department.
I've noticed you're attempting to order me around, which is completely inappropriate for obvious reasons. I will not tolerate such behavior, I consider it rude and out of place in a professional organization such as ours.
Such behavior is very disruptive to our department.
On one hand it makes us all look bad and our of control. You look bad, I look bad, we all look bad.
More importantly, when you order me around and I allow it, the entire chain of command gets turned upside down, potentially leading to other problems with our customers, with other employees and with my manager.
And believe me, I won't stand for that. I'm in charge of this department and I'm accountable for its results.
You can view this this conversation as a verbal warning. I'm not calling your behavior insubordination, just attempts at insubordination. I trust this conversation will get things back on track between you and me.
Wendy, you don't have to say it exactly this way, but you have to be firm and clear
. It's important to describe how his behavior is affecting the department. You also need to let him know that you won't put up with such behavior. That's why you have to label this conversation as a verbal warning
. Nothing less will do. Your employee has begun to ignore the rules of communication in a hierarchy, he needs to be reminded that he needs to stick to them or else :)
I would also ask you to consider that you may have given the employee room to "boss" you. This is less likely the cause of the problem, but still worth checking, just in case you need to make adjustments in your own management style.
A former marine once told me: "when you're in command, command".