Most of my job involves working with different managers across the company, including a senior officer who directly reports to the CEO and is virtually his "mini-me". In order to do my job, I rely on resources only my line manager can provide.
While I have good friendly relations with all superiors, one common thread of irritation is the fact that my line manager will go to lengths to discuss with me something like:"We have a huge issue in project X. We might need to work the whole week until we get it fixed." Sometimes I will even mention that that might delay some other projects we might be asked for, but he says no, we must first fix and then think about the projects.
Then, the mini-CEO (or any other boss) comes and asks me:"Hey, do you think we can deliver XX by tomorrow latest?" And I say:"Well, we have an issue as XX depends on completing project X - and project X has some internal problems that can be solved only by end of week." Mini-CEO then gets all worked up, starts scolding me in front of the whole office and then goes to my manager:"Hey, what's going on? We have an important business deadline, we can't let XX happen any later.". My manager immediately yields to him and says:"Sure, we can at least start setting up XX, that is absolutely doable. If anything goes wrong, we can solve the issues retrospectively." Then the mini-CEO looks at me and is like:"You see, we cannot treat these things like some random project. Don't talk to me about issues here, issues there anymore. We must get this done!"
In other words, even if I try to explain why a situation might have some delays, my direct line manager will find a way to partially contradict what I reported earlier, and ultimately make me appear like either ignorant or a bottleneck in whatever the company asks for.
I feel extremely irritated when the mini-CEO and other bosses then go on lecturing me about how important the deadlines are, the business rationale etc. They seem to think that I don't understand that already (I perfectly do), and that the issues I talk about are trivial or I just made them up maybe. I don't really know.
Note all work communication in my office is done in person, i.e. the bosses walk around the office to give instructions. No e-mails, no CC - except very high level overviews and periodic updates.
So what can I do in such situations, especially as and when it happens? And is there anything I can do to solve the situation in general?
I don't want to be perceived as a bottleneck just because I am telling the truth.
I don't feel comfortable speaking about this to my line manager as he seems a bit double-faced when it comes to this.
EDIT: Just to clarify, maybe my paraphrasing came across wrong, but I am extremely diplomatic and tactful when explaining these things. I never said a flat out "no", but more like a hesitant "look, yes, well, there might be some issues" - maybe I need to improve how I say that, but I think that regardless of that, I am the one being cornered as I am the messenger. I also need to balance with being honest... so that's a bit of a challenge. Any help appreciated.
Shouldn't I try addressing this with the mini-CEO? Maybe ask him why he is putting pressure on ME, when I have no influence on those things?