Communicating With Your Boss
By Stephen Bucaro
Your boss has a significant affect on your success and happiness at work, so it's
crucial that you know how to communicate with them. Some bosses make themselves
available and are easy to communicate with. Other bosses are unapproachable, they
either don't want to, or for some reason just don't have time to communicate with employees.
When I was a manager I used the method called "managing by walking around". With
this method, the boss spends a lot of time walking around and chatting with employees.
I would sit with each of my employees once or more each day and participate in small
talk and jokes. This made my workers feel more comfortable with me and so they
revealed things about themselves and problems they had with their assignments that
more formal bosses never learned.
Many bosses don't have the luxury of managing by walking around. They are under a
lot of pressure at work, maybe struggling with corporate politics, so they just don't
have time to make themselves available to their workers outside standard department
meetings. Some bosses have introverted personalities so they find it uncomfortable
to communicate with people. But considering the impact of your boss on your success
and happiness at work, it's important that you make an effort to communicate with them.
Some bosses like to involve them self in your assignment. Some bosses want to
know every little detail of the progress on the assignment. I've seen cases where
the boss gives an assignment, and then sits with the employee while they work on the
assignment. Most of the time, boss involvement relates to making decisions. Some
bosses want to make all the decisions, especially when the worker is new and unknown.
Some bosses expect you to make all the decisions yourself. They give you an
assignment and then make them self scarce so you can't ask any questions. They just
want you to get the job done. They don't want to be bothered with the details.
You need to learn how to accommodate the work style of your boss.
The best policy is to make as many decisions as possible yourself. Keep your boss
informed about the progress of your assignment with regular updates. Recognize when
the importance of a decision requires you to consult with your boss. Respect your
bosses time. If you need help, approach the boss at an opportune moment for the
boss and ask when would be a good time to talk. Before you approach the boss for a
decision, be prepared to offer possible solutions that the boss might choose from.
Some bosses are uncomfortable giving a worker feedback, especially if the feedback is
negative. Without feedback you can't succeed at work. The solution is to ask your
boss for feedback. The best time to approach a busy boss is early in the morning
if they come in before working hours start, or late in the day if they stay after
working hours end. Ask them how you could have done better on an assignment.
Sometimes the only way to communicate with your boss is through a company messaging
application or email. But don't expect an immediate response. Some bosses plan their
day to read and respond to their email first thing after they arrive at work. Some
plan their day to read and respond to their email last thing at the end of the day.