QUESTION: Some subordinates do not respect me; they work directly with my manager.
REALITY: Respect is earned, It does not come automatically.
Some managers find it difficult to manage some of their subordinates. It could be. that before a manager joining, a subordinate may have been working closely with the manager’s superior. Or, a subordinate might be the blue-eyed boy of a company, and the managers manager—who is all for a free flow of ideas and suggestions—talks to him directly. The manager’s superior might also want important decisions to be taken based on team input.
Some ambitious -subordinates. feel that their skill sets are better than the managers, and try to keep a direct link with the managers manager. Such a situation puts the new manager in a tight spot: the subordinate may also be complaining about the manager’s style, criticizing his actions or even working to reverse some of his decisions.
A manager can earn respect by demonstrating his skills and helping the team to achieve the right goals. He is also expected to stand by his team members in an hour of crisis. When faced with any issue, a manager can seek advice from his team members too. A manager gets respect from his subordinates when they see that he is respected by the senior management. The fundamental issue here is of respect and trust. This does not come automatically and it should be earned by working patiently and by showing results. When a manager can come up with good results, it’s a demonstration of his skills to both his superiors and his subordinates.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE EMPLOYEE? You should keep your manager in the loop whenever you are interacting with the manager’s superior. In some cases, you might not have the full perspective on an issue and to approach the manager’s superior with only the information that you have, may not be the right thing to do. The other reason for keeping the manager in the loop is that your contributions and suggestions should not go unnoticed during .the appraisal process. A situation may also rise in which the senior manager with whom you’ve.. been interacting directly, suddenly resigns, and you find yourself isolated or your contributions getting ignored.
WHAT CAN YOU DO As THE MANAGER? Your manager might not have given any real thought to the situation. You should talk to him directly and ask him to involve you while talking with your subordinate. He might make some changes in the reporting structure to ease the tension between you and your subordinates. He might also point out that you are reading too much between the lines. He could tell you that you can count on the full support of the senior management team, In the worst-case scenario, you should realize that the manager is creating an environment that makes you aware of your weak. position, so that you can move on to a new one.