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Understand Your Manager’s Communication Preferences

Dear direct report, it’s me, your manager. I know I can seem mysterious at times, some days I’m an open book then other days getting through to me can be a struggle. Well, I have news for your direct report, there are ways to decipher and even predict how I’llprefer to communicate. You’ll just need to keep a few things in mind as we interact.

Understand Your Manager’s Communication Preferences

Understand Your Manager’s Communication Preferences

About This Course

There are ways to decipher and predict how your manager prefers to communicate. Uncover how your manager prefers to communicate.

Let’s start with the basics, if you want your message to be heard, understand the types of delivery that I prefer. Remember the long email you sent me last Monday? I barely scratched the surface, every day I get hundreds of messages, hundreds.

Next time, feel free to update me in person and let me know what you need directly. Remember though, that what’s good for me isn’t effective for everyone. Take Pablo in accounting, he would much rather get an email, when his reports tell him something in person, he’ll probably retain 20 percent of it.

Observe the manager’s reaction, and usually, you’ll figure out which styles they prefer.

The same applies to the amount of detail to include, some managers want you to be exhaustive, but some don’t. In many cases, I’ll trust you to take care of the specifics and all I need is a high-level summary.

Think about how frequently we should communicate too, for some projects I’ll need daily updates, but with others, I’m fine checking in just once a week.

Be mindful of the time of day when you need to talk, if a board report is due at 5:00 PM and you pull me aside at 4:30, you won’t get my undivided attention.

Keep one final thing in mind, if you’re not clear on my communication preferences, just ask. When you’re explicit, it removes the guesswork and helps get us more aligned, it also gives you visibility into what motivates me and that means I can provide you with better answers, faster. Sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it?


Question 1

Before every check-in, Matt sends his manager a thorough report summarizing his tasks and accomplishments for the week.
Still, during their meetings, his manager often seems unaware of what’s covered in the report.
Why might this be happening?

A. His manager is not an effective communicator.
B. His report isn’t being sent at the right time of day.
C. His report contains too many details for his manager.
D. His manager does not consistently check her email.

Correct Answer:
C. His report contains too many details for his manager.

Question 2

Trish’s boss likes to say that he has an “open-door policy,” meaning anyone on his team can ask him anything.
Trish values this but still feels like his communication preferences can be inconsistent.
One minute he prefers emails, and the next he wants to speak to her in person.
How can she better understand what her manager prefers?

A. Asking him what method he likes best
B. Asking her colleagues what they think he likes
C. Waiting for her boss to tell her explicitly
D. Using both formats to communicate each time

Correct Answer:
A. Asking him what method he likes best

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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