Submitted by Trashbox on
I just found out that there is a whole group of people who try to get you to do sth. by repeating the issue until you are unnerved and finally give up and do it.
I had this issue with a project manager of mine and recently saw this happening to a collegue who had the same problem with a client.
The "discussion" goes like this:
he: I want you to write this report twice a week
me: Currently I am spending one day a week on this project, so I would rather report once a week to keep the work / report ration in a good proportion
he: I want you to write this report twice a week
me: I don't think it would be very useful. If you like to be more up to date, I could call you on friday and report to you in written form on wendsday
he: No, I want you to write this report twice a week
me: but why...and so on
he: Listen: I want you to write this report twice a week
and so on
How do I handle such a situation. It totally ticks me off.
oooh - what a pain
This is a common trick. Either shift the emphaisis - 7 why's is a good one.
Why do you need a second report. Why is this different to others - setting a precedent? Etc. Any response = why do you need that?
Is a second report going to add to Managment Info? Rare to collect more than weekly. Then start questionning what the report will be used for and start asking if it is valid or worth all the effort and risk he is adding.
"I can certainly supply that but will need to bring in additional resources. If you can supply that then I can do the report.
Bit childish, but sounds like the manager is on weak ground.
OK, so I am not sure about the reports but first, you need to discuss it with your boss and see what they think
What I want to give you advice about though, is the whole boundaries / manipulations that are going on. This will help you in your career and your relationships in life. What I am saying comes from two books on assertiveness that I highly recommend: When I Say No, I Feel Guilty (WISNIFG) by Manuel J. Smith, and Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.
It is their WANT, and it is their job, not yours, to express it, but it is also their job to deal with it if you say no. The reason they keep pushing you is because you are justifying it.
Find out why they want it. It seems you have tried. So from here on, it's a manipulation. So you'll respond with two techniques from WISNIFG:
1) Negative inquiry: "I hear you want two reports a week"
2) Broken Record: "I'm only writing one report a week"
and if you need because they criticize you, use 3) Fogging: "Yea, I can be stubborn sometimes."
And "It seems our discussion isn't progressing anymore, so I'll be on my way. Please let me know if I can help in any way
Do NOT provide reasons anymore.
Perhaps the report is a ruse
Have you considered that your boss might be using this as a ruse to exert authority?
Perhaps the nature of your challenges or resistance to the second report has become a source of irritation for your boss. If so, he or she is not likely to budge for any level of reasoning or logical argument.
You may find it more effective to simply submit two reports for a period of time and track the differences between them. Providing the data supports your view, you might then return to your boss with hard evidence that the second report is ineffective and poor use of your time. If you have complied without complaint for that period of time, you might find your boss more receptive.
Have an open mind though. Depending on your industry and the reasons for the report, you might find that the second report actually does add value to your work product. Be willing to accept this as a possibility, and review the issue objectively. Either way, if your final appeal is shot down, you should probably drop the issue and seek out ways to streamline the reporting process.
Pick your battles
Is this really worth the effort? Just prepare two reports a week. At that level of frequency, the report won't change much (risks, mitigations, overall status...) so it should only take a few minutes.
If you do great work it will shine through. If this is gamesmanship, then take a jiu-jitsu approach. Don't waste your energy and political goodwill fighting the small stuff. Really, what would a victory here bring you?
George Washington lost most of the battles in the American Revolution. He won the war because he knew which battles he HAD to win.
Oh, one more thing: this situation isn't ticking you off. It's just a request for reports. You're choosing to get ticked off about it.
Fear could be the problem
Of course you are right that two reports in a week should be no problem and that reporting twice has its benefits. It is no question that it is my job to make "life easier" for my boss or project manager. I can only say that this person behaves very different from my boss and all other project managers I worked for: He persists that I do things I think are stupid and he cannot give me a good reasoning.
I talked to my boss. He also has the problem that he can't get a message across to him.
Thanks for you're suggestion. I will no discuss points any more with him. I will rephrase his want and state my viewpoint. And leave it with that.
The more I think about it, the more I think it is fear. The project manager fears making the wrong decisions, fears having "not enough data". He will never be satisfied with one, two or threee reports, he'll always want more. As in my reply to md1-444 I think that a reporting twice a week could have it's benefits.
The PM always wants to "go through the report" in person. Usually this takes 1-2 hours, even when not a lot has changed. As I wrote to gdc2579 I think the reason for this is mainly fear. I don't know if more reporting will fix the problem. I have an obligation to balance my working time on several projects, so I can't accept to report 3-4 hours on a project I work on 8 hours a week. You are absolutely right, that I choose to get ticked off. I will just say no in the future.