Author Topic: How to talk to boss's boss  (Read 3655 times)

mozar

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How to talk to boss's boss
« on: December 26, 2016, 10:22:34 AM »
I've pretty much decided I'm going to forward a couple of emails I got from my boss and coworker. I'm trying to figure out how to best word it.
I'm not going to post them here because I'm too tense to go back into my work email today and it's a holiday.

Back story for first email is that we send my co-worker our hours and she makes a labor tracker which she emails to me and I forward to my boss. I got an email from my boss at 2am Friday asking me why I deleted her hours, that he told my co-worker to just make a minor change to the hours and I'm just making my life harder for myself and I need to undelete and send him her hours ASAP.
I didn't delete her hours, I also wasn't privy to the conversation that my boss and coworker had about changing the format. The only thing I think I could've done differently is ask her why she deleted her hours so at least I was prepared? I could not have sent him her hours because I didn't have it. This has happened before that my co-worker changed something, didn't tell me about it, and it's my fault somehow.


Back story of second email is that I made a flowchart for my co-worker. She emailed me and said I missed some things. (Should've used a diamond instead of a box shape for example). I said I'll fix it, and could she clarify were she wanted those diamonds?  (We've had issues in the past where if I didn't ask her very specific questions she gets upset that I didn't do what she didn't tell me to do). She said "don't worry about it, I'll fix it. Thanks." Next email I get is cc'd to my boss saying that she is very disappointed in me for making so many mistakes and I am unprofessional and it's going to take her a lot of time to fix the flowchart.

So I'm thinking of first asking my boss's boss if it is appropriate to send him a couple of emails that made me feel tense. He called me at home a couple of weeks ago and asked why things were tense on the team. I tried to give him so specific examples of how my boss and co-worker treat me. He seemed sympathetic. His response was to come into the office and meet with us and tell us that work isn't the hunger games (which made my co-worker laugh maniacally).

My goal is to transfer to another contract.

Thoughts?

ETA: I've spent the last year trying to figure out how to ingratiate myself to my boss and co-worker. Doing favors for them,  accepting blame for everything, working late so I can get them their documents fast...
« Last Edit: December 26, 2016, 10:26:39 AM by mozar »

chasesfish

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2016, 10:42:42 AM »
The boss's boss is always a challenging situation.

Did this specific boss's boss pick the boss?  If that's the case, the only thing you can do is make constructive, positive suggestions.

I'd also recommend you try to go 1-2 days without email and have all conversations by phone.   In my opinion, email should only be used for dissementation of information, not for conversations that are better had by telephone.   I tell my employees that any email that could be viewed as a conversation should always begin with "per our phone conversation".

Just my two cents for what its worth

mozar

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2016, 04:06:13 PM »
I was thinking I was glad to finally have something on email because phone calls are usually worse but I haven't had proof from him of how I'm treated.
I don't think this boss chose him but I don't know what exactly his job is, something with overseeing contracts. Are you suggesting I talk to the boss's boss on the phone instead?

LeRainDrop

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2016, 04:36:09 PM »
I would not go to boss's boss until after you have tried to resolve this particularly discrepancy with your boss, like this:  I would forward to your boss the email that your co-worker sent you with the spreadsheet, and I'd add a note to the effect of, "Hi, Boss, I'm a little confused by your questions.  Below and attached please find what Lucinda sent me.  I didn't change anything about her hours.  All I did was revise X, Y, Z.  Is there something I'm missing?  Thanks!"  If you don't try something like that first, boss's boss is likely to ask you what happened or was said when you tried to fix it directly with your boss and you wouldn't have anything to answer.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2016, 04:39:53 PM by LeRainDrop »

mozar

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2016, 05:21:32 PM »
It's tough to for me to figure out how to talk to him. For one thing he has such a nasty tone. Second thing is that if I told him that I didn't change her hours he would say that I should've known that they were supposed to be there and why didn't I make sure it was there. I also have to reply quickly because he gets hundreds of emails and our conversation will get quickly lost and he'll forget about it until he accuses me of something new.

But that's a good idea @LeRainDrop, to engage them with questions, and directly ask them how I can resolve it (and lots of deep breaths). I know my boss's boss wants me to resolve it with them first.

SKL-HOU

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2016, 08:56:40 PM »
I thought everything you did was perfect and you were the best employee they had? Maybe your coworker just had it with your attitude so she is complaining about every little thing, just like you are. It seems you start one of these threads every week so why don't you just look for a new job where you might be happier?
Also, i don't dealwith flowcharts but i thought there was a standard to making one, like a diamond is always a decision maker (or whatever it is), etc. so is it really about your coworker's preference or you just don't know how to make one?

More importantly what do you expect to get out of emailing boss' boss? He will fire him and make you the boss? Will he even look at the "proof" you send him?
« Last Edit: December 26, 2016, 08:59:57 PM by SKL-HOU »

Villanelle

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2016, 09:04:05 PM »
If I were your boss, or your boss' boss, I would think it was extremely unprofessional that you went up the chain without first addressing the issue with the people involved.

The bit about the hours is unclear.  But it sounds like you passed along a chart that should have had her hours, and didn't (because she deleted them before she gave her copy to you).  I can see why maybe the boss expected that you'd notice that and address it, rather than just passing along something that was obviously incorrect. 

So maybe this is more about you than you want to believe?

MonkeyJenga

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2016, 10:26:26 PM »
Back story for first email is that we send my co-worker our hours and she makes a labor tracker which she emails to me and I forward to my boss.

Why is this the process? What is your role supposed to be? Literally forward without looking, or are you supposed to be doing some kind of QC?

chasesfish

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2016, 05:50:01 AM »
On a completely different note - Long term you need to pick your boss/leader, life is too short to work for someone crappy.   That may be within your current company or somewhere else.  Great bosses are tough to find, but when you do, enjoy it.

My industry is particularly notorious for unqualified leaders, too many barriers to mergers and a lack of talent.

vivophoenix

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2016, 12:24:31 PM »

mozar

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2016, 12:28:28 PM »
The bit about the hours, awhile ago I was told not to qc it. But roles are frequently changed based on my boss's whim.
No, I'm not perfect. But I asked my co-worker for help and she said she'll fix it and then sent that rude email. Now I'm spending all day today fixing her mistakes.
It takes more than 3 weeks to find a new job, and I find the advice here very helpful.
I'm not forcing anyone to click on my thread.

vivophoenix

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2016, 12:32:37 PM »
The bit about the hours, awhile ago I was told not to qc it. But roles are frequently changed based on my boss's whim.
No, I'm not perfect. But I asked my co-worker for help and she said she'll fix it and then sent that rude email. Now I'm spending all day today fixing her mistakes.
It takes more than 3 weeks to find a new job, and I find the advice here very helpful.
I'm not forcing anyone to click on my thread.

this is true it takes tome to job hunt. but you keep asking for ways to change other people.

the only real advice after all of this is for you to accept the environment you are currently in and work on moving environments. i would not be surprised if the more you tried the worse the environment got

SKL-HOU

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2016, 05:56:23 PM »
The bit about the hours, awhile ago I was told not to qc it. But roles are frequently changed based on my boss's whim.
No, I'm not perfect. But I asked my co-worker for help and she said she'll fix it and then sent that rude email. Now I'm spending all day today fixing her mistakes.
It takes more than 3 weeks to find a new job, and I find the advice here very helpful.
I'm not forcing anyone to click on my thread.

Sometimes fixing coworkers' mistakes is part of a job. I agree with the previous poster. You are the problem and your attitude. Every professional deals with these and much more. Constantly conplaining about petty crap is never going to earn you any bonus points. You say you are not perfect but you think you are better than everyone else around you and i can guarantee you it shows even if you claim you changed your attitude.

BlueHouse

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2016, 07:03:02 PM »
Mozar, something is definitely not right with your relationship with your colleagues.  I believe you that they treat you poorly, but  I also think that something you're doing has caused that.  And once it starts and they have the mentality that you're the problem, it can be hard to change their minds. 

So I think your options are:
1) leave.  Do no more damage, keep your mouth shut, agree with everything anyone else says while you find your next gig, and then get out.
or
2) Do no more damage to relationships, keep your mouth shut except to say that you agree with everything anyone else says.  I think the only way to make people trust you again in your current position is to be on their side 100% for months or years until they aren't afraid that you're trying to point out how much smarter you are or how much more you know or how much you understand the client or that you'll go to their boss. 

The bottom line is that they don't trust you, and until they do, your working environment will be unpleasant.  Do you want to work through that and try to repair it?  or do you want to get out of it and find the next place?  These are your only real options as I see them. 

SKL-HOU

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2016, 09:35:54 PM »
Until she changes her thought process, she will end up in the same situation no matter where she goes. Always a victim, nobody knows how to do things correctly but her, etc.

LeRainDrop

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2016, 10:27:42 PM »
Mozar, something is definitely not right with your relationship with your colleagues.  I believe you that they treat you poorly, but  I also think that something you're doing has caused that.  And once it starts and they have the mentality that you're the problem, it can be hard to change their minds. 
/quote]

I think the bolded part above is very true.  I saw this play out so many times in the law firm where I worked for close to 9 years.  Once a manager has a strong opinion of a colleague, whether the perception is right or wrong, it is very hard for that colleague to change the manager's opinion.  From that point forward, everything is viewed through the lens of that opinion and information that conflicts with the opinion tends to get disregarded.  It can take a very long time to overcome that original opinion.

Ultimately, even if you, mozar, are 100% right, I think that the odds are slim that grand-boss would totally side with you against the team of your boss and your colleague.  It's the nature of most corporate environments, in my experience.  I hope that your workplace stays peaceful long enough for you to either resolve this with your current employer or otherwise to find a new job.

mozar

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2016, 10:45:43 AM »
Through this forum I have been learning how to change my behavior in order to change other people's behavior. I was bullied by my parents growing up so I'm learning from scratch how not to be a victim.
I'm pretty sure I haven't had an attitude with my boss (thanks for the help I've gotten with talking to him) but I can see how my co-worker might think so. She is very defensive and my boss has taken her aside and talked to her about that.

 everything we submit we are supposed to do as a team and she does a very poor job. I'm always covering for her so when she complains about me it really gets my goat ( i don't complain about her to my boss). When it comes to to our work product I can either explain how it works to her (which probably makes her resent me) or submit a work product with my name on it that i know is wrong. I don't want to be fatalist and give up on her, but I have to figure out what I can control. I tried to come up with a medium this time. She deleted a bunch of my recommendations that the client asked us to include, because she didn't understand them, and I let it go. I think that's progress.

I would prefer to stay at this job until I get a certificate I've been working on. But we'll see how it goes.

crispy

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Re: How to talk to boss's boss
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2016, 05:56:56 PM »
I just wanted to suggest you write to www.askamanager.com. You may be able to get some good workplace advice there.