The overwhelming majority of sustainers with some level of expertise have a boss that they must go explain things to from time to time.
If you approach this task the wrong way, it becomes very unpleasant very fast.
The natural human tendency is to take offense when questioned and take umbrage when the questions increase. This does not serve you or your boss.
Just know, any good decision-maker will flood you with questions.
We observe the system we sustain so that we can have enough knowledge to predict, lead time away, what fixes we might need to start working on now. Typically, there is never certainty. We see indications. We see see symptoms. What is really happening behind all of it is seldom straightforward.
Is it a well-understood material degradation that can be predicted to continue as time goes on? If so, will it remain at this rate or speed up or slow down? Are we completely missing the root cause of the symptom? Are there experiments we can perform to increase certainty? How long will that take?
We never have all the facts needed for the decision-maker to confidently choose. In addition, in the vast majority of cases, your decision-maker must explain their choices to their bosses, so they are even more focused on finding those gaps that their boss might hit them with.
Here are a few simple things to keep in mind when explaining to make it, if not pleasant, at least less unpleasant. Who knows? Perhaps, even fun.
1) Anticipate what most people might ask you. In fact, anticipate long enough ahead that you can root out the answers or have a plan for an experiment that will root out the answers. If possible, run that experiment ahead of time.
2) You are getting paid to collect your wits and share them. So do so in the best way you can. Show up prepared with notes. Have props or graphs if they will help.
3) Don’t just start talking. Your boss has a million things going. Remind everyone what you are there to talk about. Set the stage by providing context.
4) Know what you need to say and establish a practical flow to say it. But don’t be a slave to your planned speech. First and foremost listen to the flood of questions. Find a way to respond to them while getting your point across. (When up against a really tough explaining task, I always enlist others to stand by with additional expertise and I assign a note-taker.)
5) If using charts, always have one chart that you can speak to in order to make your critical points. It might be the only chart you have a chance to show!
6) If given actions to go do, summarize them at the end to make sure you got them right. Ask for help if needed. Be specific. Be reasonable.
Do all this well, and you will someday be the boss.
And you will find yourself still in the same role explaining things to your boss.