My boss never clearly tells me what to do, which frustrates me to no end. Time after time, he gives me vague expectations or grand visions without any explicit directions of how we will actually accomplish it. How does anyone work like that? HELP ME!
Sounds like you're sailing a ship in dense fog; confusing and frustrating! Most employees want nothing more than to impress their boss, but of course, that’s very hard if they don’t know exactly what it is that their boss wants.
Here are 3 steps to help you to clear the fog and understand your boss better.
Everyone makes sense of his or her world differently. For example, someone may prefer to start with the big picture, while some others may start with the details. It sounds like your boss is a big picture person as he gives you such general direction without details.
There is nothing right or wrong. It’s just is. Once you accept that people are different, you can free yourself from frustration and start to focus on what you can control instead.
Step 2: Ask questions
Now, you may want to stay big picture with your boss for a while... consider it as an opportunity to dream big. Why? Well, because like attracts like. This will actually help you to remove the communication barrier and build rapport between the two of you. Then you can slowly start to lead your boss with questions to clarify the result.
So instead of immediately asking, “how do we do this?” you could ask “what do you want the customers to feel after the project?” Focus your questions on big picture questions initially and slowly go into the details.
Step 3: Ask for feedback
Feedback from your boss is like the lighthouse by the harbor; it guides you so you don’t crash on the rocks. Solicit feedback from your boss whenever you reach critical checkpoints.
During these check-ins, you may want to keep in mind that your boss is a big picture person, and do your best not to overwhelm him. Provide him with a general picture. Keep details in your pocket just in case your boss asks for it. It’s not easy to deal with people who are different from you, especially when the person is your boss.
For things to change, you must first change. Identify your boss’s communication style, adapt the way you handle it, and you will wow him even more. Email me anytime with your questions, Olivia@revtc.com.