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My boss doesn't listen

By nickargall ·
Just over a week ago, my boss asked me to do some work that was urgent and not much time was being allowed for the task. Since I had a very heavy week coming up (with tasks that couldn't be sent elsewhere), I suggested he look to someone else.

The heavy week came even heavier than expected, and I didn't get a chance to look at the work in question. There came a meeting with the internal customer, and I laid my cards on the table, freely admitting I hadn't started.

We got into a conversation about the requirements, and the scope grew a bit. The client asked "So you can do all of this in 2 days?" and I said "Maybe, give me a few hours to get started and I'll know."

My boss was angry, and said that everyone else agreed first, and worked overtime later.

How can I encourage him to take a more disciplined approach to making commitments?

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Company Culture

by TheChas In reply to My boss doesn't listen

This may be a company culture situation.
Coupled with making your boss look bad in a meeting. (never a good idea)

Take a look around, and ask some of your peers if this is indeed the way things are done there.

There are many companies that place un-realistic demands on employees, and expect the staff to put in whatever time is needed to accomplish the goals.

If that is the culture, you either need to:
Adjust to it;
Find a new job;
Expect to never move up the ladder.

In the present economy, many firms are looking for places to cut jobs. If your department is perceived as unwilling to take on additional workload, you may be the first on the chopping block.

Next, you need to understand any company politics involved in the task.
Is one of your bosses peers trying to make him look bad for some reason?
Does the task have high upper management visability?

Even if you find that the culture or politics is not the issue, it is very risky to your career to go into a meeting unprepared reguardless of your workload the previous week.

As to your bosses demands, you now have a tough row to hoe.
First, you need to make the task come off without a hitch, and finish early if at all possible.
Then, you need to scheduletime to review new tasks before meeting dates, and then review any issues with your boss at least a day before the meeting.


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Training a Boss

by Oldefar In reply to My boss doesn't listen

Sounds like you started off with the right approach when you attempted to have him find an alternative resource. That failed on two points. First, it was your suggestion, and second, you did not get a confirmation of agreement.

Since you are well disciplined and on top of your committments, a better approach in this situation might be to ask for your boss to assist in adjusting your current tasks. Rather than suggesting he look for someone else, ask his help in changing your existing priorities. This gives him the chance to either free your time or decide to move the new task to a different resource. He retains the illusion of control, and you get what you need.

Next, get a confirmation as to what was agreed to. A verbal confirmation may suffice, but if you need a CYA in your work place then get it in writing. Perhaps a quick follow up email will do.

Your boss deals in 5 currencies - money, time, security, knowledge, and prestige. To encourage his behavior you will have to apply the encouragement in terms of these currencies.

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How it worked out

by nickargall In reply to My boss doesn't listen

Had a meeting with him today and discussed what happened. The upshot was that he thought I was going to be better prepared for the meeting than I was.

Next time we're both going to a meeting with a customer, (as suggested) I'm grabbing him for ten minutes and making sure that our stories are straight.

Thanks to those who replied, while I didn't agree with everything, it was all worth thinking about, and 'be prepared' is something I'll be working on.

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