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Office Politics: Need to correct the VP’s mistake? Go through the admin

by on
in Office Politics,Workplace Communication,Your Office Coach

Question: “Because of some recent accomplishments, I received a letter of recognition from the vice president of sales in our corporate office. The recognition was extremely motivating, but my name was spelled wrong on the letter. When I brought this to my immediate supervisor's attention, she said she would forward the letter to the VP and have it corrected.  That was a month ago, and I’ve heard nothing further about it. This letter would be very helpful in future job interviews, but not if it has the wrong name. Do you think I should bypass my manager, go straight to the VP and tell her she messed up and to fix it?” — Insulted

Marie’s Answer:  “Since you were smart enough to get a recognition letter, I assume you're also smart enough to know that reprimanding the VP would be politically insane.  Fortunately, this problem has a much simpler solution:

•    First of all, you are absolutely right to expect a correction. Misspelling the name on a commendation is a stupid, careless mistake, so someone should feel quite embarrassed about this oversight.

•    To resolve the issue quickly and quietly, ask the VP's administrative assistant to help you get a replacement letter. The assistant may very well be the one who prepared the original, although not necessarily the one who mangled your name.

•    When you make this request, don’t criticize or complain. Simply explain that the letter means a great deal to you and that you plan to save it. Just don’t mention that you’re saving it for a future job search.

Whenever you’re dealing with higher-level managers, remember that a helpful executive assistant can be your most valuable resource.

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