Insubordinate coworker troubles good employee

Dear Joan:
I have had more than my share of problems with a particular co-worker and I need advice. Our previous manager used to work at another company with her, and now that we have a new manager with experience in our area, her true colors are finally being shown.
Our manager is going to 'try' to meet with this co-worker today, to address her performance issues and what he expects of her.   
Aside from that, she doesn't want anything to do with our department and has undermined our manager by going to his boss and getting me removed from helping with a particular project (I was helping, under my manager's approval).  She also went above my manager and secured resources for a project with no validation.  Problem #1, she went above our current manager; problem #2, the executives did not redirect her back to her manager; problem #3, the executives approved resource allocation with no justification. I have heard through the grapevine that she is trying to get these resources to report to her directly. 
We have since hired two contractors, to help with her work, and there isn't anything for them to do.  My manager has told me that he has spoken to his manager (the VP) about the issues with this person and that he is aware of them.  
My question is: how can I address the undermining issue without looking bad?  Do you think that since upper management made such a ruling about resources, that they, too, don't have support for my current manager?  How can I make the upper management aware of everything?  Should I contact HR?  Should I trust my manager, or should I sit back and wait for our executives to make another decision based on false information?  Should I go to the VP to express that I couldn’t work on the project because she was not providing any status reports?
She does not respond to any of my e-mails (I have even copied our manager) and on top of that, we have daily, 15-minute meetings, that she always comes into halfway through. 
I have come to realize that it's very difficult for me to stand by when her inefficiency directly affects our department, co-workers and potentially our business opportunities, but I have to let the process work. It's hard to 'stand down', as I am the only other person in our company that holds the same job function, and any reflection on her is reflection on me, and our department too.  Our department is used to working as a team and everyone is feeling helpless. Help!
Let your manager do his job. He has already spoken to the VP and has assured you that the VP is aware of the issues. If you go around your boss, it could look like you are doing exactly what your coworker is doing…going around your boss.
Even though your intentions are noble, your boss wouldn’t appreciate you doing his talking for him. He would probably think, “Hey, I already told her I was handling it with my boss…doesn’t she think I can deal with this? Doesn’t she believe that I did anything? I’m already sitting down and talking with this person to reset expectations—she should keep her nose out of it.” In addition, it would make the VP wonder why you weren’t working through your boss.
You can’t control her behavior, and it’s not your role to manage her. You are only expected to perform your best in your own job. While I know it may seem as if your reputation (or the department’s image) might be damaged by this individual, it usually doesn’t come to that. Instead, what I usually see, is the manager—along with senior management—catch on to what is going on, and put a stop to it. The employee usually gets his or her wings clipped. And if it continues, the employee doesn’t last.
It’s encouraging that your boss has taken the initiative to go talk to his boss, as well as to have a sit-down with her about expectations. It seems as if he has been quite open with you about this issue, which tells me he values you as a good employee, and he wants you to know he is on top of it.
What is discouraging is your use of the word, “try.” You said he is going to “try to meet with this employee to address the performance issues.” I hope it wasn’t your manager who used the word, “try.” He needs to assert himself and let her know what her boundaries are. He needs to hold her accountable for appropriate behavior.
Over the next four months, or so, see what happens. For example, she should show up for meetings on time, and your boss should be intervening if you aren’t getting email responses from her. He should be actively involved in approving resources. If you clearly see that your boss isn’t holding her accountable, and it is having a direct impact on your own work output, it may be time to go to the VP. Until then, let the process work.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616,, or 
About Joan Lloyd
Joan Lloyd & Associates provide
FREE subscription to receive Joan's article by email

Email Joan to submit your question for consideration for publication, request permission to reprint an article for distribution, or for information about carrying Joan Lloyd's weekly column in your publication, or on your Internet or Intranet site. Visit to search an archive of more than 1700 of Joan's articles.
© Joan Lloyd & Associates, Inc.