Boss’ murky direction confuses staff - Metro US

Boss’ murky direction confuses staff

“Refrain from criticisms that are too personal.”

Q: Jill, my boss always thinks his instructions are clear but they never are. In the end, we end up getting blamed when things aren’t done the way he wants them to be. He isn’t the most approachable person and is often doing, in my opinion, too many things at once. How do you talk to someone and get through to them when they are often arrogant and don’t think anything is wrong?

—Melissa H.

A: This is tricky because of the relationship dynamic between employers and employees. Employers are often in a position of power and authority, so you’ve got to be selective with your words whenever you are offering constructive criticism to your boss. Remember to refrain from criticisms that are too personal in nature, such as criticizing his or her personality. You want to be sure to keep your critique based on the workplace. In other words it’s probably not the best idea to tell him that you think he is arrogant.

You might, however, mention that you could really see an improvement happening in overall sales, for instance, if employees were able to understand his instructions routinely without constant need for clarifications. Then follow that up with suggestions on how he could help you all understand his instructions better. One idea might be to ask him to e-mail everyone so there is written step-by-step documentation of the expectations or give everyone instructions at once in a group, therefore all questions can be handled at the same time and everyone hears everything at the same time.

Sometimes bosses who haven’t mastered the skill of necessary delegation suffer from doing too much at once. As a conscientious employee you might want to encourage your boss to delegate some of the tasks to employees so he can spend more time evaluating how things are actually going rather than simply running from project to project with no time to connect with employees to ensure things are done correctly.

Whatever you do Melissa, staying quiet is definitely not the answer. The boss who doesn’t realize that his or her ability to give instructions needs improvement will continue to blame and penalize staff when things aren’t done correctly. If you stay quiet on this, one day it could cost you your job.

Good luck and be respectable as you clearly outline your concerns to your boss. He might find the Canadian Management Centre www.cmctraining.orga helpful resource.


jill’s tip of the week

  • Are you attending university or college for the first time? Once you know where you’ll be going and you’ve got your course schedule, consider taking a self-guided tour of the institution. Check out where your courses will be held, visit the library and get an idea of all the student services you’ll likely need to take advantage of throughout the year. This is also a great time to introduce yourself to staff, professors and fellow students before the big September rush. Remember, networking never hurts and at school when you’ll likely hit the wall a few times, it’s great to know who your support systems might be before you need them!

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