I am in IT and have a business partner who is at times very difficult to deal with. I work closely with him to set our work priorities going forward and provide updates to our project sponsers as a normal IT project manager would with their business partner.

Today, I received an email from this gentleman that suggested that we should a) only tell the project sponsers what we needed them to do to help us rather than ever sharing anything positive b) get my IT house in order because I wasn't getting all this high priority stuff done and it was making us look bad (when he is the primary driver for our priority setting and we are on schedule to meet current priorities as laid out prior to today) and c) I should stop worrying about "looking good" to my management chain and tell them everything that was wrong so they would get us plenty of help.

Any advice on how to handle this? I have spent the last year or more while working with him specifically doing everything in my power to do what was right for the business even though I was the one looking bad to my management because of it, so this was like a punch in the gut when I read this email.

How do I respond to this in a way that has a chance of actually moving the relationship forward somehow?

Thanks in advance for your help.

bflynn's picture

He may not be saying what you think he's saying. Realize that there's wiggle room in interperting his request. a) could also be seen as telling the project sponsors what they need to know and not wasting their time with things they don't care about. b) could mean that you haven't understood the priorities clearly or that they are subject to change. And c) could be a way to say that you handle the problems yourself instead of bringing them up to your boss.

There is a fine line between being manipulative and being political. Obviously, one is unethical and one is ok. Often the same action can appear either way, depending on the point of view.

I'll back up to the basics. Your primary purpose is to get your job done. If that is happening, you will look good. If its not happening, you will look bad. There is no substitute for delivering the goods.

I'm still a little unclear - can you elaborate more?


cincibuckeyenut's picture

[quote="bflynn"]He I'm still a little unclear - can you elaborate more?


Thanks for your thoughts, Brian. Much appreciated.

What would you like me to elaborate on? I am not sure where you need more info based on your post.

bflynn's picture

[quote="cincibuckeyenut"]What would you like me to elaborate on? I am not sure where you need more info based on your post.[/quote]

I guess I was thinking you could give a little more background. However, if my general thoughts helped, then its not necessary - I'm glad I could do something.