4

My role has evolved to include some sort of "spokesperson"'s responsibilities for my technical department. For any queries, complaints, requests, etc. from other parts of the company, people have to ask me first so I can decide whether I or others can solve it directly or if I really need to escalate the problem to my superiors.

What happens sometimes (and more often in this period) is that some superiors try to push really hard, asking when a new technical feature will be released or updated, and explaining every possible reason why speeding up the schedule will be better. I usually say that I understand and it is in progress, in the development pipeline or whatever. When I know that my superiors won't change the schedule, I explain as diplomatically as possible the reason.

My fear is that more and more people within the company will associate me with being the problem person, because when it comes to things planned by my superiors, I have no way of changing their schedule.

I think this might be similar to situations any customer service representative might have found themselves in, i.e. I have no authority or ability to directly solve the problem, but must explain and calm down the complainer.

So what can I do to handle these requests without sabotaging my reputation within the company and thus my career advancement?

3

Working within IT, where sub departments work with different tasks, I can relate to this completely, and the answer I've got for you is this:

Be honest, and provide all the information you can. There is no real way to avoid pissing of some people, there will always be those who just won't accept any answer not equal to what they wanted, and there is always those who try to play you by making you feel guilty or stupid. As long as you keep your cool and provide all the information you can in an honest way, you are doing your part.

There is no shame sending them to other people you think can answer a subject better, that's how work synergy should be. Your job is primarily to send them in the right direction, a little detour here and there is bound to happen at times, so never feel bad for that.

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