How to Handle Boss's Comments On Something I Previously Recommended

This may be more venting than anything but this has been bugging me for a few days now and I'm looking for some feedback and advice.

Last week as I was pre-wiring my boss for a leadership approval review I was going to be presenting at, I came to the realization that -- based on the feedback I was getting from him -- I should withdraw from the meeting and wait until the next review to present to make sure the story was clean. (As an aside, some info came in very last minute which is what caused the story to get muddy.) I provided this recommendation to my boss during the pre-wire and his feedback to me was to move forward "as is" but to provide a summary at the end of the presentation to help focus the leadership team as to what I was asking for approval on and outline the next steps for the follow up items

At the approval review, as I expected, there was some confusion around what was being asked of them but I was able to handle it.  I got them to approve what I needed them to approve and understand that I was to come back later for the rest. 

Through the grapevine, I heard that my boss was not happy with the presentation and found it to be disorganized and confusing. (Irritation #1)

Fast forward to a couple of days ago, I had a follow up meeting with my boss and some others to ensure the key players were all on the same page.  At the end of the meeting, my boss mentions to me and others that "...I really think we should have held off until the next review because the way it was presented caused confusion". (Irritation #2)

When he said this I held my tongue and didn't say anything in response...I wanted to, but it probably would have come out as a CLM (career limiting move).  I have been irritated since hearing both of these things because I recognized the concern up front and was directed to move forward by the person who is now critiquing my performance without any acknowledgment of that fact.  Any recommendations on how I might be able to approach this topic with him or do I just need to move on from it? 

Note that he doesn't do O3s so unless there is an issue or something he specifically needs to talk with me about, there is no real communication loop between us.

Any and all feedback is appreciated.

Allan

One swallow doesn't a summer make

I agree with you, that really feels frustrating - sometimes I've felt that I wish my pay rate was linked to how many times more senior managers contradicted themselves and each other.

The only consolation I can offer is that you're not alone and I've found that it is sometimes best just to bite your tongue - this is a single incident, only if it happens enough to be a problem then you should consider corrective action.

As Mark would say: "If it doesn't happen again then it isn't a problem that needs fixing"

It does sound like communication and your relationship with your boss are not as good as they should be. I've also found that this is often the root cause of so many similar problems to what you are experiencing. It sounds like you would like your boss to do O3's with you and I think this is a good idea too. You can't force your boss to do them however there is cast on how to simulate most of a O3 with your boss - called Professional Updates. So I recommend you try this technique and keep us updated to how you get on.

 

Good luck

Keith

 

 

You have an easier position than you think...

Because you agree with him and made a suggestion to that effect before it ever happened.

Because of it I think you actually do have a few angles to approach the conversation at.  "Hey Boss, I just wanted to talk to you about X.  I know you've been feeling there was confusion because we presented a little earlier than we should have.  Totally agree.  Since we talked about that beforehand a little and gave it the green light anyway I was wondering how you wanted to address it for the future.  Do you want to put something in place so we can cut it off before it happens again?  Any way I could have brought up my concerns differently so we could've avoided it?"

People are people.  Left to our own devices, given room to fill in the blanks, it's hard not to fill them in with pretty colors - for us anyway.  If it's not a pattern it's probably not malicious on your boss' part.  But a gentle reminder that you did talk about it ahead of time might be enough to cut off the public umbrella-poking, and maybe it'll be a motivator to get something in place to squash the next one ahead of time.