Author Topic: My boss's boss just called me, what do I say?  (Read 3595 times)

mozar

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My boss's boss just called me, what do I say?
« on: December 05, 2016, 06:38:29 PM »
Here I am again, trying to figure out how to deal with this job. My boss's boss just called me at home and left a message saying he wanted to talk about how to "best satisfy the client."
Can I ask my boss's boss (let's call him Jimmy) what the client said?
As I said a month ago, my boss is a jerk. So much so that I am afraid if retaliation of I said something and it got back to him.
I can tell my boss is overwhelmed, and it probably doesn't help that he takes vacation a lot. He has been rude to the client, he also doesn't read his emails so when the client asks him to do something he either misses or misunderstands it and sends us staff on a wild goose case doing work they never asked for. Some clients are fine with that or don't care. I'm not sure where our client stands, I haven't heard at all from the client in a couple months actually.

For example the client asked us for a comparison of the work done at two locations. So I created that and worked on it a lot and submitted it to my boss several times as a gentle reminder of what they actually asked for. But he insisted that what they wanted was a guidance/ framework so we spent two weeks and long nights creating a "guidance" which he never reviewed, and had a person on a different team review who isn't familiar with our work at all. I was able to get the comparison into the final submission but it took a lot of gentle reminders.

What I think the biggest problem is is that he is not familiar with accounting policy. He is not familiar with laws and regulations and what policies are supposed to like. He is a project manager and he oversees 3 different teams. Strategy, bonds, and accounting. So he probably doesn't need to be an expert on accounting. BUT my co-worker runs to him for every little thing. So he can't leave her and I to manage the project. She also isn't familiar with accounting laws and regulations. The only thing she is good at is formatting and making pretty grids. But she sucks up to the boss and that makes it OK.

I'm also the only person coming up with recommendations which is what we are being paid to do. But my boss and co-worker will spend weeks arguing with me about my ideas because they don't actually understand what my idea is. Another example: I recommended that the client use sharepoint to approve a document. Every day by boss kept asking me why they would put a document in sharepoint, you can't do approvals in sharepoint, sharepoint is just a database. I gently explained to him 5 times that you can use sharepoint to do an approval (it's called a workflow approval). I think he got it. When my co-worker finally got what sharepoint is she complained to the boss that my recommendations were "incomplete" because I didn't recommend using sharepoint for every...single...process.

Now, I'm fine with doing all the heavy lifting and giving my co-workers credit for doing nothing, I have learned a ton about working with difficult people. But I don't know what to say to Jimmy. I don't want to lie to him. I also don't want to make myself look bad by complaining about all this. I also want to keep this job for at least a another year.

Now that I've talked about me, me, me here's some background: the person who wrote the policy work statement for our contract quit. Then the manager quit. They hired a new one, then she quit. After 6 months they got a new one and she was just formally instated. it seems to me that these new people don't understand what the contract says either. The first time they seemed frustrated they said they didn't believe we were doing any work. I had been dragging every one on my team into doing research into the client processes so we sent them a bunch of stuff we were working on. Then they asked us to pivot and do something not on the contract. We turned that in and I made sure they got what they wanted. I was very proud of that (this was before the guidance). So I'm not sure what their upset about now.

Thoughts? I have no idea how to manage this situation.

TL:DR my boss is a jerk, should I tell his boss?

MDM

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Re: My boss's boss just called me, what do I say?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2016, 06:58:48 PM »
Here I am again, trying to figure out how to deal with this job. My boss's boss just called me at home and left a message saying he wanted to talk about how to "best satisfy the client."
Can I ask my boss's boss (let's call him Jimmy) what the client said?

Thoughts? I have no idea how to manage this situation.
Start by returning the call and saying, "Hi boss's boss, this is mozar - how can I help you?"

If during the subsequent conversation, you have reason to believe you are missing pertinent facts, it is reasonable for you to say, "boss's boss, I may not have heard all the discussions between us and the client.  Could you summarize your understanding of the situation?"  At that point boss's boss might turn around and ask you to summarize your understanding.  If so, stick with facts and not opinions of what your boss did or didn't do.

If boss's boss asks for your opinion, then give it.  Give supporting reasons for yours, not derogatory comments about others.  Good luck!

Good luck!

Goldielocks

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Re: My boss's boss just called me, what do I say?
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2016, 07:02:24 PM »
Don't call out your boss as a jerk.  Don't even mention him/her.

Just return the call, and ask lots of questions.  Listen.  Say if pressed for an answer or input that you would like a day to think it through to come up with the best response.

I would use this as an opportunity for you to become the lead with this client, to gather needs and submit reports on what they ask for, and use your manager as a backstage reviewer and advisor (on your office admin) and for you direct the work of the co-worker for generating pretty charts when needed for your client.  (She comes to you instead of your boss).

Ask for another accounting expert to do peer reviews of reports sent to the client.

To the boss's boss, the problem is how to best service the client, for the best future for your company.  Phrase everything from that point of view.  Also say how much you like working for your company or for this client / project, if you want to brown nose a little while you are at it.

No one really wants to know that the team members are not operating well internally, and if they can ignore it, they will choose to do so.   You don't want to be the one to force them to face the ugly internal HR stuff.  You just need to describe how to maximize client satisfaction with an updated team.

mozar

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Re: My boss's boss just called me, what do I say?
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2016, 08:22:08 PM »
Okay, phew. Just writing this out helped a lot.

Quote
I would use this as an opportunity for you to become the lead with this client

How do I phrase this?

Quote
Ask for another accounting expert to do peer reviews of reports sent to the client.
I'm the only accounting expert, although my boss and my co-worker think they are accounting experts.

Any brown nosing advice is appreciated.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: My boss's boss just called me, what do I say?
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2016, 04:53:29 AM »
I assume you already called back, but if B.B. Is considering making you the client's contact, you'd maybe want to say if it fits in that you would like more direct client engagement.

Goldielocks

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Re: My boss's boss just called me, what do I say?
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2016, 09:04:37 AM »
Okay, phew. Just writing this out helped a lot.

Quote
I would use this as an opportunity for you to become the lead with this client

How do I phrase this?

Quote
Ask for another accounting expert to do peer reviews of reports sent to the client.


After boss describes a concern he has or client concern say

"Boss, this is a great client for us, and over the past 3 years that I have been on the account, I have grown to understand what they want when they ask for it.  For example, [example.. the last time, they wanted comparative reports instead of a guidance framework, note to state this without naming names]. " 

"I think that they would appreciate my becoming the first point of contact for their deliverables and project team with [my boss] as executive support for the invoicing and business aspects.    To really succeed at this, I would need to direct the work of [colleage with charts] as we prepare our reports for them, and I would appreciate your eyes on the next two deliverables before we send them, to provide a second eyes review of my accounting recommendations.  [boss] is great at strategy and bonds, but the current need is for accounting practices insight right now.

This client really wants to achieve
  • with their business, and needs the comparative reports and a clear recommendations on how to [y, eg minimize bookkeeping costs or speed up their internal workflow or maximize tax efficiency, or whatever].   To keep them, we need to start providing our deliverables to them with less delay, and communicate often and clearly. I can do that."



---  if you really want to go in strong add this ---  "I can fix this."

mozar

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Re: My boss's boss just called me, what do I say?
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2016, 09:23:48 AM »
I haven't talked to him (Jimmy ) yet. I will after work. Thanks again. I'm not used to talking that formally but I'll try.

Dicey

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Re: My boss's boss just called me, what do I say?
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2016, 06:04:45 PM »
I was just thinking about you and hopped over to check. Hope it goes well, and wondering why you're not speaking to him during business hours? My spidey sense doesn't really like this turn of events...

ltt

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Re: My boss's boss just called me, what do I say?
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2016, 06:23:39 PM »
You've been given good advice, especially about not saying anything bad about your boss.

aschmidt2930

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Re: My boss's boss just called me, what do I say?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2016, 06:31:50 PM »
It sounds like you should consider getting a new job, seems to be a lot of built of frustration/stress underlying this situation.

G-dog

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Re: My boss's boss just called me, what do I say?
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2016, 07:05:52 PM »
Tough situation - I hope you will have good news to report after you talk with BB.

This is unusual - they hate to skip levels in line management...


My joke answer - Lo siento, no hablo ingles.

mozar

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Re: My boss's boss just called me, what do I say?
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2016, 10:30:52 AM »
I talked to Jimmy last night. It turns out that my boss being a jerk is exactly what he wanted to talk about. My boss asked Jimmy to talk to each of us about tension within the team. So I gave specific and concrete examples of my boss and co-workers being jerks to me. Jimmy agreed their behavior is a problem. I also got some brown nosing in.
But yeah, I'm thinking about my next move because I'm not going to be happy in the long term. Not just because of my team, but because I'm already bored after a year.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2016, 10:33:14 AM by mozar »