By Vincent Low
Communicating with your boss can be a daunting task. After all, it can’t be easy facing up to someone directly responsible for your performance review, and indirectly, your paycheck and livelihood. For that reason alone, many of us would much rather avoid interacting with our superiors. That said, establishing good communication with your bosses can be vital to your career, as well as the success of the organization.
As the General Manager of Canon Singapore, I want to give some perspective on how staff can and should relate to their supervisor. Here are four tips on improving communication with your boss.
You might think – Wait a minute, I’m hired to work, not to entertain! While that is true, remember that bosses are people too. They have their moods, their preferences, family, outside interests, and in some cases, they too, have bosses.
The reality is that people enjoy working with people they enjoy. Building a relationship makes it easier for your superiors to share candid feedback on your performance, allowing more opportunities for you to provide input on work matters.
It’s easy to identify work problems; there are always technical challenges, logistical issues, vendor flare-ups, or difficult clients. The thing I look out for in my staff is their level of initiative and judgment – are they keen problem-solvers?
Don’t get me wrong, you can still communicate the issues at hand – but provide at least one alternative, sensible solution so it doesn’t come across as a complaint.
There remains a fine line between explaining yourself and being defensive. When bosses give feedback or criticism, don’t be too quick to interrupt or offer excuses, even if there is a valid reason. Take a deep breath (quietly), and calmly make your case after your superior has presented all the facts.
And if the feedback is fair and accurate –acknowledge and accept it. In most cases, your superiors will be more than impressed by your sense of ownership and responsibility.
There will be times when a staff member feels upset at not being acknowledged for their efforts, or get frustrated at certain work processes. Oftentimes, the answer I get when I ask them “Have you told your supervisor?” is a “No.”
Bosses are put in place to take charge of the company or a department, and while the nature of our role demands that we delegate well – we are not mind readers! If an issue arises within the department, technical crew or the product, it is imperative that you keep us in the loop, so the problem can be tackled. Help us help you get the job done.
With these four tips, I hope you will find it much easier to communicate with your bosses!
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