When explaining why something didn't get done/was delayed/was done incorrectly, is it better to identify the party at fault or remain objective, but also risk assumption that it could have been your fault?
Let's assume we are ordering some kind of materials, for example, and it's a time-sensitive process.
- The boss (your boss' boss) wants everything needed to make Product A by the end of the month.
- You are in charge of getting a particular piece of Product A, and you were just notified on the 22nd (assume it's a 30-day month). Your manager has regularly scheduled meetings, but other than that nothing comes up.
- You submit your order, but it needs to be approved by your manager. An email is sent to them and you continue about your day.(All it requires is a quick read and a click)
- 2 days later, it still has not been approved, and you have seen your manager walking around and talking to associates, so you know they are not always unavailable.
- It's now the morning of the 25th and the order gets approved, and is sent to Company X and they begin their 3 (or 1, 2, etc) day process of fulfilling your order.
It's the 28th and now you're getting an email asking what the status is and where your products are that you were responsible for ordering.
Do you say:
- "My Manager, Jane, took a couple days to approve my request to fulfill the order. I did everything I could."
- "It took a few days to get the process kicked off due to everyone being pre-occupied. We are working diligently to faciliate the remaining processes."
I'm not in the shipping/transportation industry; sorry for any inaccuracies here.
One on hand, you're essentially saying: "Look, I know it's late, but I did my job ASAP and the remaining processes were delayed because of my manager. Do not blame me." Here, you should not get any blame, but your manager could potentially be unappreciative of you essentially saying this about them and their involvement. But, it could make sure that these things get done a lot quicker in the future. This could possibly put a bad taste in everyone's mouth about the kind of work your team/area does, and it starts at the manager. Possibly no promotion for you.
And on the other hand, you're saying: "We are a team, and everyone is working feverishly to get done what we can get done in the time frame given to us. We know we are running behind, and we will work to do better in the future." Here, your boss' boss is equally aggravated at everyone that things are running behind. Any shroud of doubt of involvement on your behalf is eradicated. This could mean no bonus for you, no promotion, negative impressions about you and the work you do, etc.