Communicating Better With Your Boss

5 strategies for better communication with your boss...or anyone.

Too often communication breaks down between bosses and direct reports because neither is speaking the same language: expectations are out of sync. For example, the boss may want an overview but the employee provides minute detail. Or vice versa.

Here are five strategies to ensure that you are communicating effectively with your boss.

Be prepared. Unless you’re making casual water cooler chitchat, be sure to be organized before all verbal and e-mail interactions.

Be direct.Don’t beat around the bush. Direct, unambiguous communication is more professional than soft-pedaling information. Be polite, but be direct. Likewise, if your boss gives you negative feedback, keep your cool and respond neutrally.

Be a good listener. Communication is a two-way street. You need to listen and truly understand what you’re being told. If you’re at all confused, ask for clarification. And maintain good eye contact so your boss knows you’re listening. Everyone wants to be heard.

Be there. Face-to-face conversations are a must for good relationships. Don’t allow the ease of e-mail to entirely supplant personal contact.

Be clear. Before ending your chat with your boss, make certain that each of you understands the next steps, strategies, etc. that you have agreed upon. This puts you on the same page going forward.