Back To Career News

3 Tips for Communicating With the Boss


Ever feel like you and the boss are speaking a different language? It might not be your fault, or hers. Sometimes, people just have different communication styles. However, since your success is dependent on being able to communicate with your manager, it behooves you to figure out a way around the impasse.


(Photo Credit: Victor1558/Flickr)

1. Put yourself in her shoes.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Do you what your boss does all day? Familiarizing yourself with her goals and tasks can help you appreciate how and when to bring up certain subjects. For example, if you know there’s a management meeting every Tuesday morning, perhaps pick another time to bring up a difficult topic.

2. Ask how and when he’d like to communicate.

Maybe you prefer to speak in person, but your boss wants things documented, or you like to respect people’s evenings off, but she wants to know about issues right away — even if it means a late-night phone call. Talking about this ahead of time will help you avoid assumptions about the best ways to convey information.

3. Be clear about what you want and need.

“Are you just giving your boss a heads-up of something she should be aware of? Or asking for approval for something? Or seeking input?” asks Alison Green of Ask a Manager. “Clearly state what outcome you’re hoping for, so that she knows precisely what you’re looking for from her.”

The bottom line is that it’s important to be willing to adapt. If you give your boss the benefit of the doubt, and make a concerted effort to improve communication, you’ll be in a much better place at work and a lot happier in general.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you ever had a boss who was on a totally different wavelength? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

Leave a Reply

1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Resilient man
Resilient man

Time ago, I came across a boss with who he and I had personalities that did not come along. We had a respectful and impersonal treatment though, but he happened to be one of those people that frame others immdiately, and that was very smart and would not take into consideration the words of others. On my side I am a rather argumentative person, and very inquisitive. Also I carried out all tasks without problems. However, the fact that our personalities were diverging coupled to… Read more »

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.