Dealing with conflicting orders from bosses at work often leaves workers wondering where to turn.
Q. I'm in a bind at work. My boss wants to implement something very badly. The information technology director is not on board and is extremely uncomfortable with it. My boss has gotten me to try to go around the IT director's back to see if we can implement something anyway. I researched further and saw for myself that my boss's idea is not a good idea. In fact, it could even put the organization in a legal bind if something were to go wrong. I pointed that out to the boss, but haven't gotten any response. I intentionally kept our conversation private, rather than involve the IT director. My objective is to dissuade the boss from the idea without having it appear that I am siding with the IT director. Now I feel both are not pleased with me -- the boss because I'm raising objections to his idea, and the IT director because he perceives my role in all of this as getting the boss to go around his back over his objections. Do I just resign myself to the doghouse, or what should I do?
A. Deborah Keary, who answers workplace questions for the Society for Human Resource Management in Alexandria, Va., said this worker's job "might be at risk."
The first thing he ought to do, Keary said, is to "write everything down that has happened so far and not do anything with" the document. "A little history. Just hold on to it." That way, Keary said, the worker will have documented his concerns in case this incident becomes more contentious.
Then, she said, she'd wait and see what happens.
"If the boss insists on going forward" with his scheme, "then it's time to act and go to the boss's boss," to say that "the boss is putting you, himself and the company at risk. Don't sit back and let that happen," Keary said.
If it turns out that this worker has misread the possible implications of the boss's proposal, at least the company will have been made aware of the worker's concerns and had time to consider the ramifications, Keary said.
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