Has a team under you ever gone over your head and shown work you killed to your boss? If@so how did you handle it?

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Ooooof. No. I like to believe I’ve built the type of relationship with my team where they’d come to me first to let me know they feel strongly about the idea and aren’t ready to let it go. And I also like to believe I’d be open minded to that. That’s rough, can you give us more context?


Always always always tell your teams they are allowed to disagree with you. Listen to their opinions on why the work should be shown to the boss. If you still disagree, let them know they are free to show it to the boss as their own idea, not approved by you, and you won’t be defending the work.

Also it’s good to know your boss’s opinion on situations like this first.


This is great advice. Communicate. It feels like that was the problem.

Gerry Graf told a story on the talking to ourselves podcast where a team did that to him when he was at TBWA Los Angeles. He promptly had them removed from his group and never spoke to them again. I would have fired them if he could have.


It’s only going over his head if they do it behind his back. If they are passionate about the work, can defend it to him, and say they’d really like to show it to his boss, and understand he won’t be defending it, then it’s massive insecurity to still say no.

First off, you shouldn’t “kill” work. It’s our job to work with our teams to make the work better. If your teams feel passionate about a concept, you should help them articulate the idea.



No. But if that happens you’ve been destroyed. Game Over.

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