10 things your boss isn’t telling you

by Ask a Manager on April 25, 2011

Last week’s post about the manager struggling with how to tell his assistant that her shirts were too low-cut provided the inspiration for my post today at U.S. News & World Report … which is about 10 things your boss might be thinking but isn’t telling you.

To be clear, a good boss will have the difficult and awkward conversations that need to be had. But there are plenty of less-than-perfect bosses out there, and it’s worth thinking about what kinds of things they might be avoiding telling you because they feel awkward bringing it up.

You can read it  here.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie April 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm

This is an awesome post – and should be mandatory reading for everyone who has a boss. I love self-evaluation via a numbered list.

Seriously, I really do. That looks kind of geeky in print, but there’s just something about applying organized logic to people issues that makes them seem so manageable.

I would love to know why #9 is an issue for any boss. I know it is, I’ve seen more than one reluctant to discuss it – but I have never understood why this is a touchy subject at all.

A couple of years ago one of my co-workers was making some snarky comments about my hours and how I could come and go as I please. During this time I was working routinely until after 11:00 pm and weekends on a project, scheduling around the availability of an out sourced programmer. When I heard there was some resentment about my wandering in about 9:00 am I mentioned that I had been three weeks without a day off and hadn’t gotten home before midnight all week.

She understood, resentment ceased – life went on. My boss didn’t tell her because “You’re schedule is none of her business.”

I don’t know why extenuating circumstances fall into the category of awkward conversations.

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Ask a Manager April 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Thanks! (Check out one of the comments over there; you might be inspired to reply.)

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Jamie April 26, 2011 at 10:19 am

The comment section on the linked article…what article did they read??

Seriously, maybe I’m not smart enough to follow the segues – but I can’t for the life of me figure out how what you wrote would prompt those responses. It almost seems like the comment section was juxtaposed with that of another article!

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Ask a Manager April 26, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I know, I had the same thought! Very weird.

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Anonymous April 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

The problem with #10, though, is that some less-than-perfect bosses will take any disagreement, however respectfully phrased, as a personal attack. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, not opening myself up to that again. So it’s “smile and nod and do what I’m told” – 0h, and cover my behind – very important, that. And if that makes me a less valuable employee in some ways, they have only themselves to blame.

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Ask a Manager April 25, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I think there it’s about knowing your boss. Totally agree that some don’t welcome dissent — but people shouldn’t paint every boss with the same brush and instead should pay attention to what the signals from their particular boss are telling them.

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Anonymous April 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Let’s just say that, based on previous experience, I’ve found it better to assume that they don’t want to hear anything but “yes, of course – best idea ever”. Until/unless they have clearly and repeatedly demonstrated otherwise…with my coworkers, because there’s no way I’m going to be the one to stick my neck out. I’ve had a couple of bosses who weren’t that way, but they’ve been the exception, definitely not the rule.

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Anonymous April 26, 2011 at 10:50 am

And one must be careful of the Samuel Goldwyns: I don’t want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their job.

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