I have a situation here with a manager (he and me report to the same person) who is responsible for certain aspects with a customer (he is sales, i am a technical team lead).

More often than not in the recent months he claims (and insists) that something is settled with the customer, and I later find out that it is not. I do so because I am on-site at the customer, and he isn't and the customer holds me responsible. An typical example is that when new people are added to the team, it would be his responsibility to do the necessary agreements about starting dates and permissions to work on-site with the customer, but we now have the 4th or 5th occasion when the new person arrives without doing so.

It starts to impact the customers image of my employer negatively and affect my time severly (additionally to dealing with something which was his job, I have to do so unprepared, immediately, and very often take additional steps).

My options are to

  • throw him actively under the bus (I have a good relationship with the customer),
  • sit tight and plainly not solve anything (e.g. sending back people who he did not register),
  • trying to take over responsibilities from him.

What is recommended here?

Clarification: I already talked to our common boss, with moderate success: Our boss sees the problem, talked to the manager, but the actual behavior of the manager did not change so much in my opinion. The communicated responsibilities are complicated due to the fact that the manager never introduced himself formally to the persons he should be corresponding with.

  • We have a common manager. It's a relic of another structure in the company, and i have only one manager.
    – Sascha
    Commented Dec 24, 2017 at 19:16
  • This is a question for your boss and/or your boss's boss. There are alot of issues that could complicate this that make it too company specific to be on topic here. Commented Dec 24, 2017 at 23:15

1 Answer 1


Since you are at the customers site it is natural that the customer tends to hold you accountable. But there is an important point here. Is this the proper conduct on the customer's part? Your business arrangement should spell out who is responsible and how escalation should work.

What you do not do is to say or do anything that would expose the internal problems to the customer. Disparaging another within your company makes you all look like a bunch of idiots.

What you must do is escalate the problem within your own company to your common manager.

  1. Do not make this personal. This is about projecting a professional image of your company to the customer.

  2. Document the details of the problem(s).

EXAMPLE: "Bob" hired "Fred" who showed up Oct 10th with no notification to "Joe" (your customer). Joe asked me to explain why he wasn't notified.

  1. Suggest a solution for your manager.

I'd suggest a change such that Joe is notified formally of all personnel changes by email, and that I am cc'ed on the email. So even if Bob talks to Joe in person or over the phone, the email must be sent.

The overriding point here is that it is in your company's best interest to project a positive image to the customer.

If the customer is grilling you properly, and you don't know what is happening, then that gives the customer a very bad impression.

If the customer is grilling you improperly, then who in your company should contact who in the customer's company to resolve this.

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