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I'm on a project where my role includes managing a cooperation with another company. I'm the sole person responsible for that.

Now something strange happened. The company "decided", without consultation, not to scale down their delivery, which I formally requested from them - which was consulted with my boss and other leaders and expressed according to the process we've always been following. They claimed that another team member "told them" they shouldn't scale down (the colleague denies that). I caught that before chaos occurred (overproduction and conflict). However, since that time they have been raising the topic of "we don't know if User is really accountable" and criticising me for "sending contradictory messages" during every meeting.

I asked my boss if they could clarify who in our team is responsible for communicating decisions concerning the cooperation, to both us and the other company, to avoid misunderstanding and conflict.

My boss is very reluctant to do that. They do confirm to me that I'm responsible, but not to the other organization, even when I directly asked them if they could do that. When during meetings I clarified the other company that they should take my decisions as our official decisions, my boss visibly held back, never confirmed it publicly - instead he criticized my stressing that. I feel that's making my job difficult since the other company questions my every decision.

How can I fix it?

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    What country is the business in? If it's Asia, there might be issues in dealing with "face" in play here.
    – nick012000
    Feb 28, 2022 at 1:07

2 Answers 2

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Time to talk to your boss again.

If you are responsible of managing the other company, you will need the authority to do so and that needs to be communicated to all parties involved.

If your boss refuses to put you officially in charge, than let them know that you can't take the responsibility either. Not because you don't want to, but because a setup like this simply doesn't work as the last hiccup clearly showed.

Ask your boss specifically about the last interaction: What exactly should you have done differently and how can you avoid this in the future? Maybe the exact scope of your responsibilities can be clarified: Who is in charge of placing and managing orders? Who is accountable if that goes wrong ?

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Tell the company that you are responsible and that you expect them to respond to your instructions appropriately. Don't go any further than that. Put this in writing, and put any future orders on production or delivery in writing as well.

Someone is trying to hide their mistake at the other company. Hold them to your written instructions.

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    The OP's boss has made it clear they have a problem with this approach. Ignoring that runs a serious risk of causing further issues for the OP. Feb 28, 2022 at 10:15
  • @PhilipKendall Either someone is responsible or no one is.
    – Tiger Guy
    Feb 28, 2022 at 18:37
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    Absolutely. But that's the OP's boss's problem if they decide no-one is responsible. Feb 28, 2022 at 18:42

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