I work in an office with a fairly specific work-flow. My part of the work-flow is to inspect my coworker's work for accuracy before it is sent to the sales force in the field.

One of the people I audit is my immediate supervisor. Once in a while, they get upset when I send a document back for correcting. Sometimes I am accused of being insubordinate for requesting the item be corrected before I would sign off on it.

To be clear, these are factual type errors, not matter-of-opinion errors.

How can I address my superiors quality issues in a way that is professional and not insubordinate?

  • is it "Normal" I do not think that it is common but it is not an unheard of situation. But that part of the question is not on topic. But we can help you to communicate the problems in a way that is more likely to be acceptable to your manager. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Nov 2 '17 at 14:28

In my experience, it's more normal for the auditor to be out of the chain, and it's better that way. But it does happen, especially in smaller companies.

As with any audit-type job, it's not a popularity contest; continue as you are. They can get upset if they must, but you have a job to do; do it and discount the sour grapes. Your work is valued, or you wouldn't be there.

Just relay your findings professionally and factually.

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  • Just relay your findings professionally and factually. - please expand on this and give the OP some useful advice on how he can do that. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Nov 2 '17 at 14:29

This isn't all that unusual - I regularly get passed stuff written by my General Manager (2 levels up) for a review before it is sent out. If your supervisor didn't want you to provide a review, they shouldn't be passing it to you.

That said, there may something in how you communicate the error that needs correcting:

requesting the item be corrected before I would sign off on it

That does rather sound like you are directing your supervisor (possibly without intending to).

A better approach may be:

Hey boss, that document looks good, but I think we need to fix this one thing before it's good to push out.

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You don't really have any choice other than being professional and reporting any mistake you find in your review.

Angering your superior might be "bad" for your career, but signing an incorrect document would be an even bigger mistake, because you would accept to share the blame (and probably be the ultimate target, as superiors often tend to offload faults down the command line).

Given that you WILL fight with him over reviews from time to time, there are a few things you can do to improve the situation:

First of all, always remark in the positive, and try to shed a good light on his work. He will be less inclined to fight if you downplay his mistakes to "minor issues not worth fighting for".

Second, always provide complete information and documentation supporting your findings.
You state that

To be clear, these are factual type errors, not matter-of-opinion errors.

but this might not be clear for your boss, and this confusion might lead him to think you're just trying to impose you ideas on him.

Last, don't be bothered by it. Nobody can be fired or reprimanded for just doing his job.

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