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Week 3, DQ2: How Do You Communicate with Your Boss?
What would be the most effective channel to communicate with
your boss in a hierchical or investor-owned organization? Why is this?
Are other channels less effective?
In my opinion, and maybe it is my military background, anyone who is
senior to me will always get my information the first time up face to
face, with any future correspondence on the same subject via e-mail
either for oh by the way's, or clarification. As an individual gains
seniority in pretty much any business, the more responsibility you
have, and ultimately more correspondence. I work with my
Command Master Chief (Highest enlisted person in each command),
on a daily basis, and it floors me how much work he has on his plate
on a daily basis. He normally works with me via e-mail, and if the
subject needs more attention, or clarification, he will call me into his
office, but I personally would not conduct the start of any
communication process outside of a face to face unless there is no
open door policy, and in that case, I would do either a phone call or
e-mail. There is too much to be left by the wayside and easily
mistaken if not done in a face to face manner.
The most effect way to communicate is to use channels in concert. When involved in a
project a cc email to the supervisor during communications that have are pivotal helps them stay
in the loop. When an appointment is required then an email stating the nature of the material to
be addressed in the meeting is appropriate. This approach allows the supervisor to review the
material as needed to make the meeting productive. This approach is good even in an open door
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office as the supervisor is up to speed on the topic and does not look bad. The face to face is
necessary, yet the adage is if the boss looks good you look good goes a long way in what
information is provided to the supervisor. The other part is that all emails on a project are
printed out and put in a binder for that project. When I go to a meeting with the boss if the topic
is known the binder for that topic goes with me. The supervisor is a busy person and often
forgets having communicated on a matter having the email at hand, helps clarify issues.
I've found as I conduct business with my subordinates to operate in a
face to face policy as much as possible. When distance between
myself and my supervisor prevents face to face meetings, we
communicate via email and many messages flow involving other
teams. I'm still a little 'old school' in the sense that face to face
meetings and handshakes are still the way to go. I believe it promotes
understanding and teamwork while still maintaining the hierarchy.
Weekly meetings are conducted in person with all team leads and the
supervisor. Task organization is assessed and distributed for the
weeks agenda and everyone is involved with discussing and
addressing issues or concerns. Having this face to face streamlines
the initial outline of the weekly duties while clearing up any confusion
before we get started. Follow ups are conducted via email and
The most effective channel to communicate with the boss would be a
face-to-face meeting. This allows for questions to be asked and
answered, and it provides instant feedback. The employee and the
boss will be able to obtain ample information about the subject, and
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they should both leave the meeting feeling as though the subject has
been resolved. E-mails and phone calls are less effective. With
e-mails, the employee and the boss might have to exchange a series
of e-mails in order to fully gather all the information. E-mails might sit
in an inbox for a while before being read, also. If the subject is urgent,
then this would not be helpful. The effectiveness of a phone call is
similar to the e-mail. With phone calls, a situation where a voice
message might need to be recorded is probable. Then, it will depend
on when the boss is able to check this message. Again, this would
not be helpful if the subject was urgent.
I love this question, and have been asked it by many people that have worked for and
with me over the years. The most effective way to speak with your leader is dependant
on what the topic to be covered is, the importance of the issue, and most importantly the
preference of the leader you are working with. The topic is the most important factor in
determining what is to be discussed. For example, when talking to you leader about a
potential raise and promotion that you are interesting in, scheduling a meeting with them
and doing the meeting in a face to face fashion is the ONLY way this should be
done. You are making a case, or selling yourself, to that leader and you want to exert
confidence in that case you are presenting, while also alloting time that both of you can be
un-interrupted. Importance or urgency is a necesary factor, as a more important
message should be relayed at least by the phone, where a less important matter can be
done via email or text. All of this is dependant on the leader that you are working
with. Some do not like to have anything dealt with in any other matter than face to face or
email, so knowing your "audience" mus tbe taken into account. Understand that the less
actual talking to are doing, with verbal communcation, the less effective the
communcation becomes, and it also is harder to completely deliver messages because
words via email and text can be interpretted in so many different ways.
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