Marie’s Answer: You and your scattered boss illustrate a classic difference in thinking styles. Here’s an explanation:
• Creative Visionaries focus on the big picture and overlook details. They get excited about new ideas and love to make changes. Sound like your manager?
• Organized Implementers, on the other hand, concentrate on specifics and action steps. They plan ahead and despise last-minute changes. You seem to fall into this category.
• Your manager’s frustrating traits simply reflect the way his brain works. He can’t impart details because he hasn’t thought about them. He doesn’t give facts "in an orderly manner" because he’s not a structured thinker. For you, however, organizing information is as natural as breathing.
• Since Mr. Visionary isn’t likely to change, you might as well focus on “managing up.” Your strategy of sending bullet-point e-mails is a great example of adapting to a boss with a different style.
Visionaries and Implementers have complementary perspectives, so they often make a terrific team. However, as you have noticed, they can also drive each other nuts.
For suggestions on getting along with your manager, see How to Manage Your Boss.