DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my employees has formally complained about me at least twice in recent weeks. My human resources director informed me. It's odd, because she has never said anything to me about her issues with me. I am a big believer in being direct in my communication with my team. Should I say something to her about this, even though she didn't tell me? -- To the Point, Chicago
DEAR TO THE POINT: Go back to your human resources director and learn more about your employee's concerns. Find out what her complaints are so that you can assess what the issues are and how you might address them. Ask your H.R. director for any insights that may help you to navigate this challenge effectively. Also, find out if it is OK for you to go back to your employee to discuss this issue. Sometimes, people bring their concerns to H.R. and ask for them to remain confidential. Be in alignment with your H.R. director before you go to this employee.
With consensus, go back to the employee in question, and ask her to share her concerns with you directly. Your goal here is to build a better rapport with her so that you two can work out your differences without the need for mediation. Let her know that you understand she is dissatisfied with particular aspects of your leadership style. Talk it out if you can, and come up with a plan that allows the two of you to feel at ease moving forward.