“My boss lacks email skills. How do I tell him?"
Monday, June 30, 2014
Posted by: Barbara Francella
My boss's e-mails are often misinterpreted in tone or intent. How do
I approach him about this?
I wouldn’t take this one head on.That will
only result in tension, defensiveness and hurt feelings.
In private, tell him that you completely
misunderstood what he was saying in a particular e-mail. And then use humor. If possible, share a time when one of your own e-mail communications was misinterpreted (preferably with a humorous
result). Then, build on that to talk about how delicate e-mail communications
I think that you’ll raise his awareness without
hitting him over the head. Hopefully
you’ll see the behavioral change that you’re looking for. If not, then you’ll have to be more
If it comes to that, carefully extend the
olive branch by approaching it from the standpoint of "asking for his
help.” You don’t have to put yourself
down too much, but simply state that you perform best when e-mails are
extremely clear. Further explain that
you want to be sure you are providing everything he needs in a timely
fashion. Tell him you don’t want to
misinterpret anything. Give specific
examples of how he could phrase things that "would really help you out.”
Over the weeks following, offer lots of
accolades for his improvement.
Trudy Bourgeois is happy to answer your career
questions. Please email them to NEW Communications Manager Barbara Grondin Francella.
Trudy Bourgeois is founder and CEO of The Center for
Workforce Excellence and NEW Executive Leaders Forum conference
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