I've seen this in the workplace way too many times! For a number of years I worked in an industrial environment where tact was something used to determine how sticky something was, and was not part of the manager to employee vocabulary!
As you move up the food chain and out of the garbage, the language changes, sometimes not by much, but it does change. I saw a big difference going from manufacturing to engineering, and then later on to MIS. Different worlds really do exist.
Sometimes you do need to be blunt, and unfortunately it's not always politically correct, but it needs to be done. I've been in a situation where an former manager was supposed to cover for me. To be honest, and I told his manager the CEO, that he was useless because I had 3 times the work to do when I got back to work. It probably wasn't nice, but he got the axe a few weeks later. No loss as far as I'm concerned.
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