“Muriel is a line worker, who reports to her supervisor, Vince, who reports to me. Muriel has been here for six months. I am certainly not her supervisor, but I am the Manager Once Removed for her team. Her team is a very important element of my system,” Sylvia explained.
“What’s the problem?” I asked.
“I was talking to Muriel, just asking how things are going, about how she has adjusted to working here. That’s when the fireworks started.”
Sylvia had my curiosity. “Tell me more,” I prompted.
“Her supervisor, Vince, remember that Vince reports to me. Vince walked by, interrupted us, began grilling me on our conversation. I tried to tactfully excuse Sylvia from the discussion, but she had a scared look on her face.”
“What did Vince say?”
“I pulled him into my office so we could talk in private. He said that I was undermining his authority, that if I had anything to say to one of his team members, I needed to go through him and he would deliver the message. Otherwise, he said, Hands Off.”