Posted by: tonkatsudelights | August 24, 2007

When your boss is wrong…

Another incident happened in the same review week, last week.

That was the review for my area of responsibility. The area that I lead. I’ve fixed the schedule and I’ve reviewed the materials with my buyers. I felt confident that this was going to be a good review.

Three days before the review, though, there was a schedule change. I’ve communicated the change by e-mail to my boss and my buyers (all but one). I’ve verbally reminded the buyers in one or two occassions we talked prior to the review.

Everything looks like nothing could go wrong.

Or so I thought.

The morning of the review I chose to work from home for an hour to take an early morning call. Then off I went to work, targetting to come just right before the review. But when I arrived in the office, I looked inside the meeting room and everybody was there already. I sensed something was wrong but I brushed it aside and proceeded to lead the discussion.

But that moment I realized my boss already started talking with the buyers. And I asked in bewilderment, “the review starts already?”

And that moment, my boss blasted me in front of everybody, “Yes! and you are late!”

I quickly answered, “No, I am not late —

He cut me off, “Yes, you are late, and you are late for 30mins! You can’t just send a schedule change a couple of hours before the meeting!”

At this moment I was so angry I shouted back at him, “No, I am not late and I have sent the notification to you since 3 days ago! Which you have acknowledged. This morning’s e-mail was just a reminder!”

At this point we then decided to talk later. First we had a review to do and second, it was not good for the buyers to see their leaders fighting in front of them.

The review itself was successful. My boss complimented that this was the best he has seen so far in the series of business reviews within the week. Only now I could never be sure he said it sincerely or out of guilt. But since I could never know for sure, I chose to give him the benefits of the doubt.

After the review, I forwarded exactly the acknowledgment e-mail from my boss regarding the schedule change, first to my boss then to all my buyers. I told my boss, this is what I was talking about and I felt he could’ve done better to handle the situation. He could have listened to my explanation first to understand what was exactly going on. He then proceeded to say sorry and explain to me why he thought I was late.

One of the buyers was very concerned as she knew I was very angry because of the incident. She approached me to make sure I was okay. Me being me, I was back to my usual cheerful self in the 2nd half of the day. The moment I sent out the e-mail to my boss and to all my buyers, I felt the load had been lifted off my chest.

From my standpoint, case is closed. I gave feedback and expressed my concerns to everybody. My boss said sorry. That’s it. I moved on.

I told all the buyers to take the learning from this little incident. Communication is really key. Someone said that if you want to communicate changes to other people, sometimes you have to do it 7 times so that the other parties understand it. I’ve experienced it first hand. I’ve communicated at least 3-4 times to all the parties, but only one of them got it correctly.

Is this due to the e-mail avalanche, the communication overload that we experience on a daily basis?


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