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About 8 months ago, a coworker and I worked on a project which lasted about 4 months to complete. After completion, we as a team presented the findings to 3 different groups of increasing authority. Everything went well as far as I could tell with the presentations. However, we have recently been asked to present again to a member of upper management. This is actually very exciting for the both of us, since this member of upper management is very influential in the company, and this would give us some good visibility on some sound work we've done.

We have just been informed that my boss's boss would prefer that my boss give the presentation with us in the room as support. This bothered me a little because I have always held myself to give credit where due and take responsibility for my work, and I feel this is undermining this ideal for me and my coworker. My boss does not know the information nearly as well as my team does and I believe the presentation would suffer because of this. Not trying to devalue my boss, I just think the presentation would be better suited if my team presented it. It is also worth noting that my boss's boss just assumed his new role a couple of weeks ago.

I understand that in the end I'll just do what my boss tells me to, but I am wondering if it would be out of line and seem selfish to bring this concern up to my boss? The last thing I want is this to come off as some sort of power struggle; so if believed that I should confront my boss then what is some phrasing to avoid?

  • @MrMe my boss informed us by saying he would need a lot of our help during the presentation since his boss wants him to present – Acumen Simulator Feb 28 '18 at 15:22
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While I can understand and appreciate why you might be feeling a bit put out by this I really don't think you have anything to gain by bring it up with your boss. It wasn't their decision to change who gave the presentation and I really can't see them going against their boss to try and change it. Given you will be in the room "for support" (as you put it) I don't think this is a case where you will be missing out on the credit for the work.

I understand your point regarding your boss not knowing the work quite as well as you and your team do but the best approach for this (and one that I think would serve to up your professional reputation with your boss) would be to offer to give them a primer on the presentation in advance if they want.

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    In addition, boss may know what upper management really want to know. They may lack of some technical competences to understand or care about certain aspect of your work. if they have some questions about specifics technical or functionnal aspect, you'll be here to answer it. – Ckankonmange Feb 28 '18 at 13:28
  • This makes sense, I guess there's no need to make it a problem until it actually is a problem – Acumen Simulator Feb 28 '18 at 15:25
  • @AcumenSimulator exactly, if the presentation goes ahead and your boss steals all the credit (and I have no reason to believe that is the way thus will go) then that's a different matter and I would say you might want to at least consider raising that with them afterwards but you are nowhere near that situation yet – motosubatsu Feb 28 '18 at 19:54
  • @Ckankonmange I was looking for this part and I found it in your answer. My boss does that everytime and it is VERY useful. Boss is there shielding us while we are representing our work. He answers the bigger scope questions that we don't have accurate answers for. He is there to do his job, simply. And it is excellent. When dealing with upper management, OP will find himself in situations where he WISHED his boss was there, because only his boss knows. OP should do everything to familiarize his boss with the work done. – Sandra K Mar 1 '18 at 17:30
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Let your Boss do it, as other have pointed out it want his call.

Two more things:

1) Use of this time to build a relationship with your (new) boss. Spend as much time prepping him as needed. Then fully support him in the room during the presentation. (If he refused to be properly prepped don't push the issue but make a mental note, this may not be the best guy to work with)

2) During the presentation make keep a look out to how he handles credit, he should give you and your team full credit. If he doesn't even acknowledge your contribution, start looking for job as this is not a guy who will be looking out for you long term.

  • The direct boss isn't new, the boss's boss is. So the person who decided who will present is new, not the person who will be presenting. – David K Feb 28 '18 at 14:30
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    My boss is great at giving credit, he would rather us present. – Acumen Simulator Feb 28 '18 at 15:19
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    Then let him fight that battle. You just tell him you are happy to help in any way needed. – Morons Feb 28 '18 at 15:21
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There may be many reasons why your boss's boss made that decision. It may not be a good idea to die on this hill, especially since the decision maker is new to the organization.

You mentioned your boss does give credit where it is due (in a comment I think). Thank your lucky stars for that. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Be collaborative with your boss on it. She/He is your "champion" going into this, support them well, make them look good and it will reflect well on all of you.

Be ready to hop in with further details, if prompted, but beyond that the cards are going to fall where they fall.

Has the boss's boss seen your presentation? Did they make this choice after seeing the original group? They may be looking for a different voice, different frame, politics at play, whatever.

At least you get to be in the room for visibility. Use that to your advantage, smile and act like all is well even if it turns out to be hot garbage. Nothing shows character like a crisis, so represent your personal brand well. That's the best you can do.

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