Overstepping her brief

I have a member of staff in my department. Yes, she understands her job very well and even performs very well. But I think her ego is getting too big, so that she thinks she can even task me, and that she can push for some decisions on other colleagues.

Something else that I think is very dangerous, is that she goes ahead to talk to my second line supervisor, which in the end also influences my first line supervisor.

I try to control the situation professionally but some other colleagues are advising me to attack her and also talk to my second line supervisor about it.

Now it so happens that my first line supervisor is always looking for mistakes that I make and never empowers me at all. I do all I do because I have decided to keep a positive mindset and it has enabled me to stay in this situation for almost 3 years now. Question is, until when???

I badly need advice on this matter. I think I am getting psychologically tortured.

Waiting to hear from you.


I wonder if the fact that she is going past you to your line manager is related to your supervisor not “empowering” you. If you think this is the case then you are going to have to tackle them both about it to defend yourself.

I think you need to give it some thought, and if you decide this is the case then you need a quiet chat with your manager

First, tell him calmly what you think, and ask for his support. Say that you need him to allow you to manage by empowering you, and not undermining you, and give him recent examples of when this has happened. Keep it objective, low key and blame free. Simply state that this is what is happening and then take it from there as he responds.

You might find it useful to revisit this section on giving feedback, as this is effectively what you are doing.

Appraisal skills for managers

This may also be useful.

Tackling conflict in the workplace

Then tell him that this has engendered another problem, as a member of staff is becoming difficult to manage. Tell him that you are going to tackle the problem member of staff, and need to know that you can count on his support if she goes running to him.

Then ideally you could do with a couple of incidents where he does publicly empower you, when the problem member of staff is there. This may not happen though.

Then you need to have a chat with the staff member, again keep it calm, low key, reasonable, objective and have recent examples ready.

Address all of the issues and concerns you have; That she tasks you, pushes for some decisions on other colleagues, talks to your first and second line supervisor.

Make sure she understands that you are the manager, she has overstepped her brief, and needs to work within the structure that exists.

I hope this has helped you with this tricky situation