What is OfficePolitics.com? Real People. Real Problems. Expert Advice.
Franke James is Editor/Founder of Office-Politics.com and Inventor of the Office-Politics® Game.
Peter R. Garber has worked as an HR professional for over 25 years and is the author of many business books including: Winning the Rat Race at Work and 100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of your Boss.
Dina Beach Lynch, is an Ombudsman, Author and former attorney. An award-winning mediator, Dina served as the Corporate Ombudsman for the 7th largest bank in the US helping over 48,000 employees to resolve workplace issues.
Dr. Rick Brandon is CEO of Brandon Partners. He has consulted and trained tens of thousands at corporations worldwide, including Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries.
Dr. Marty Seldman is one of America's most experienced executive coaches. His 35-year career includes expertise in executive coaching, group dynamics, cross-cultural studies, clinical psychology, and training.
Arnie Herz, is a lawyer, mediator, speaker, author and consultant nationally recognized for his practical and inspired approach to conflict resolution and client counseling.
Dr. John Burton LL.B. M.B.A. M.Div. Ph.D. is an ethicist, mediator, lawyer and theologian. John is currently located in Prince Rupert, B.C., Canada, working with Canada's aboriginal communities.
I am getting fairly distressed here. I am at the start of my career in accounting, and I am facing quite a tough situation...
I am getting fairly distressed here. I am at the start
of my career in accounting, and I am facing quite a tough situation.
Frankly, I have been a very hard worker, and I did so many hours of
overtime. I am at the brink of being evaluated for promotion, and a good
evaluation from each of my engagements will impact my promotion opportunity.
Now, regarding what to do now, don't give up on Manager Z since she may in fact simply be too busy given the now extra work and hassles. Go again in a contrite fashion, but not overly defensive to explain and clear the air, as well as to offer whatever support you can in cleaning up the mess. Apologize for not having more clearly understood what leaving one project might have meant, while also balancing this acknowledgment with the process suggest that the entire team learn process-wise from the experience that when roll-offs occur, there needs to be a clear form and process for preventing items from getting dropped. Walk her through it all. If she refuses to meet, consider documenting through a letter/memo rather than an email especially if you worry that she could just forward your email and frame it as your admission you were wrong. That is NOT the intent. It's problem solving and setting the record straight. you were far from negligent, just naive and overly trusting. Pe rhaps misjudging or mis-communicating (under-communicating) how your pieces would be handled. But attempt to share blame if anything by noting you were no longer officially on the project and Mr. X and Ms. Y in all fairness could ask for what is needed, allowing you to discuss with Z and problem solve the workload. Usually clear messages and communication upfront prevent such problems.
Finally, you do have the option of playing hardball with Mr. X if what you say is true, that he has a pattern of blaming others unfairly. You might feel free to lobby others to stand up for you in case it's needed. You'll of course risk a reputation as a blamer yourself, but sometimes this last resort to protect your own reputation is appropriate. If so, make sure you have the political stock to survive this, so that he does not further take you down if he has more strategic alliances with more powerful people than you do. Ponder this one carefully first. If you move forward, stay "behavioral" in your terms and language, avoiding evaluative words about him, just describing the facts objectively and avoiding inferential language.
Let us know what happens and hang in there! You will never let this happen again, will you! That's the upside. Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.com
Rick Brandon, Ph.D. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D., Co-authors
Feedback from Auditor-No-Longer-In-Panic!
Thank you so much for the reply! The answer from Dr. Brandon and Dr. Seldman is much appreciated! The situation was resolved earlier through other means (I sought help from an individual more senior than those X, Y, and Z involved; and Mr. X got rid of himself, thank goodness). Nonetheless, the response made some really good points. Being at the start of my career and still at the bottom of the corporate ladder, both Dr. Brandon and Dr. Seldman provided excellent coaching points (i.e. working hard is great, but I should let people know that I had worked hard for them; and love everyone but trust no one - in a realistic way). Their examples of how I can save myself from these situations in the future were also helpful, and most importantly, those recommendations are "doable"! Thank you office politics! I can now be Auditor-No-Longer-In-Panic!
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