Wednesday, April 10, 2019

5 Steps to Take When You Don't Know What Your Boss Wants

Some people believe a micromanaging boss is the worst thing ever, but I'd have to say that a boss who doesn't communicate what he or she wants is also pretty bad.

This is the boss who can't exactly tell you what he wants. Half the time you don't really know what he's talking about and when he says, "So, everything OK?" you want to respond: "No! Everything is not OK! I have no idea what you really want!"

Instead -- because you don't want to lose your job -- you say: "Sure! Everything's fine!"

The problem here is that you and your boss have gotten into a bad communications rut. He's not telling you what he wants, and you're not asking for what you need.

It's time to change this dysfunctional dynamic:

1. Ask to meet with the boss. Set up a time when you can talk to your boss uninterrupted to clarify some objectives.

2. Choose priorities. Clarify with your boss your top three priorities.

3. Determine resources. Ask the boss if there are additional resources to help you complete these priorities. Are there outside partners you can consult? Do you need to work with someone in another department? Do you have access to necessary data?

4. Set a schedule. Are you in alignment with the boss on the schedule, including preliminary reports, a presentation or a final report to him or to clients? What benchmarks will the boss be looking for along the way?

5. Answer "what if" issues. How much leeway do you have if anything starts to get off track, such as available resources or the schedule? Does he want to be informed of any roadblocks, or are you given the green light to handle them?

Once you've gone through these issues, you and your boss should have a much clearer understanding of your objectives and projected outcomes. This should be standard with all your assignments -- if you can't answer these key questions, then meet with the boss. He'll soon discover that your proactive approach brings about the best results.

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