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How do you corral a co-worker who takes things right to the top?

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Question: “How do I deal with someone who constantly name-drops and only wants to deal and work with upper management? This person will not discuss issues with other employees or ask for their input or concerns, making individuals feel they don’t matter. I understand that things will get done quicker when issues are brought directly to upper management, but blowing right past other employees hurts the work environment. What to do?” – Marianne, Office Manager

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark February 28, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Could you talk with those in upper management that this person goes to, and ask them to stop letting the person do this? This happened where I worked, where a person would go over staff officers’ heads and go to the board of directors to complain about things. It was brought to the board’s attention that this should never be allowed. They agreed, and it stopped. Now, if someone wants to go to a director, they have to first ask, “Did you talk to your supervisor about this?” If the answer is “no”, they instruct the person to talk to their supervisor. If the answer is “yes”, they ask question #2, “If you did not get resolution with your supervisor, did you talk to the President about it?” If “no”, they are instructed to go back and talk to the CEO. If “yes’, that is the only time they will listen to the employee’s issue.

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SaraLee February 27, 2013 at 8:13 am

I say, let this person phase themselves right out of a position of any infuence, because people who are like this stop getting taken seriously after a while. Management learns to ignore them and they wind up never getting ahead because of their rep.

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Paula February 25, 2013 at 1:45 pm

At some point it is the upper-level person’s responsibility to simply turn this person away. We have someone in our office who loves to go right to the president of the company any time something happens that he doesn’t like, and I can’t understand why the president doesn’t shoo him out of the office and say, “That’s between you and your supervisor.” I never saw anything like that in the military, that’s for sure! It’s important to nail down a chain of command and let everyone know that if you’re going to shoot too high with a problem that doesn’t deserve attention at the top level, you’d better be prepared to have the door shut in your face………

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Kelly Hoh February 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

I personally was being embroiled in a situation with a new support staff who would not look me in the eyes, communicate with me and discuss the issues at hand, and wanted to report to HR and finally talked to my CEO whom I support. I fully agree that when the top management gives the impression that anyone with an issue can go right to the top to get their end of the story justified, being it right or wrong, it takes away the respect that person has for the immediate levels above them and especially to the persons involved. Eventually, a lot of issues are to deal with the way communications are and the egos involved. Talking through in a calm and honest way to move forward is the best way, rather than having an upper management personnel stepping in and making it a blown-out issue that it is not in the first place.

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Julie Vaughn February 21, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Although all office environments are different, that would never stand in mine. One of the things my CEO tells folks when they meet him for the first time is that he has an open-door policy and folks are welcome at any time, but when it comes to daily work issues, their supervisor will be the “best equipped to help them.” So the solution lies with the commitment of upper management to refer employees back down the line and, even moreso, empowering those folks to make decisions that your co-worker thinks can only be made at the higher level.

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