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Over lunch, a colleague of mine, that has a manager (person in direct charge of the project) and a BOSS up top was asked to resolve one issue. The manager had arguments with the boss regarding how it should be resolved. They both agreed they would go with the manager's way. When my colleague was starting to resolve the issue, the Boss calls and said, "You do it my way."

In this case, what would you do?!

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Dan Pichelman, MichaelT, GlenH7, Corbin March, Kilian Foth Sep 11 '13 at 13:18

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

5 Answers 5

up vote 29 down vote accepted

Report the issue to the manager, let him sort it out. Respect the chain of command!

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+1 yep - relax - it's not your problem –  Conor Dec 20 '10 at 14:39
+1 for chain of command. No one thinks about the chain of command until it is broken, and that is when people start to get fired. COVER YOUR ASS. –  Adam Crossland Dec 20 '10 at 14:39
+1 take the least responsibilty you can in this particular situation! –  RYFN Dec 20 '10 at 15:10
You should take orders from your immediate manager. If somebody higher up wants things done differently, they need to sort it before it ends up on your desk. If the boss wants to overrule that and your manager won't go along with it, then the boss can fire the manager and handle it himself. –  karmajunkie Dec 20 '10 at 15:42
+1: If all this is occurring verbally, write an email two both of them on the lines of "Just to clarify our earlier conversation . . ." stating the main points and the direction you're currently taking (which will be your immediate bosses approach). Be sure to mention that the other guy favours the other approach too. Let your superiors fight it out, but get all your direction in writing. –  Binary Worrier Dec 20 '10 at 16:18

Definitely report it to your manager, he'll have to argue with his boss. This definitely shouldn't fall into your lap until there's an adequate and solid resolution.

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I would say this is not your problem. Until the people above you can decide what they want to do, you have no reason to continue with the implementation. Report it to your manager, and tell him to let you know when they have sorted it out.

Don't put your ass on the line because somebody else can't get their act together.


If this goes on too long, consider getting both the manager and the boss to sign a resolution denoting how you are to continue. This will cover your ass if everything goes up in smoke.

This likely won't be required though.

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Report this issue to your manager and ask him to decide if you continue doing it his way or the boss' way. As a followup question ask what you should do if this occurs again (and I'm guessing it will).

A little anecdote about my company: We have the same problem, different suits say different things about some implementations. We solved this by implementing one option, and only if they all agree on the same option, we would change the implementation to the final decision. In the mean time, while the suits are doing politics about the color of a button. We make it work. And 90% of the time, they just go with what already is implemented.

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+1, a working implementation overrules "navel gazing" every day –  Ed Griebel Dec 20 '10 at 15:46

My advise is: Ask your boss a mail confirmation or a formal request about what he asked you to do, that way when things get messing you have something to hold on. If the does not what to, then report to an upper or equal authority.

This way you may save your self a lot of trouble!

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+1, alway have a paper trail. Well, except for when you dont want one. –  GrandmasterB Dec 20 '10 at 21:53

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