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Frustrated with lack of communication on major changes

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Question: What do you do when department heads do not communicate major changes in the department to the administrative assistant? It's frustrating to not ever know what people are thinking and talking about behind closed doors until the very last minute.  -- Carolyn


Have you tried asking them to keep you "in the loop"? I had a similar situation happen with one of the managers with whom I work. He would include me on e-mails to the guys in his division, asking them to contact me with certain information, etc., and then not mention anything to me about it. I'd find out about the project when the first salesman called me with his information. You can graciously request that the department heads inform you of any major changes so that you can more effectively do your job of providing them with administrative assistance. Thankfully, just bringing it to the attention of my manager solved the problem. He now copies me on his e-mails to his division if I am involved in the situation. Good luck! : )

You must remember sometimes management have to make decisions and during the course of doing so you may not need to know what is going on, esp. if major changes, as you mentioned are being decided upon. Are you concerned with just wanting to be in the know or is your job duly affected.
Many times my manager will call her staff into her office and they will have discussions without including me. Rather than be loaded down with a lot of unnecessary info I wait until she brings to my attention that which I need to act upon. Sometimes I am told immediately other times I am not told until the last minute and sometimes I am put in a position where I needed to provide info or answer a question with no prior knowledge of the situation. If you know your job well and your manager, you should be able to make amends or handle the situation in a satisfactory manner. Don't get offended because you are left out of the loop. Remember you are working for them, not them working for you. If it is really important they will fill you in.
If you have a good working relationship with your supervisor and can discuss the matter with them do so as this may resolve the problem. If not go home in the evening knowing you are doing the best job you can with what is provided for you.

Carolyn is right as far as being bogged down with unnecessary information. However, I believe that in order to be successful, we do need to have a basic idea of what is going on, especially if we are expected to do a good job - Prioritizing is one of our functions. Personally, I ask one of the more approachable bosses, how meetings, telephone calls, and correspondence rate on his list for the projects I haven't been given any details on.

At times it is in the best interest in the staff to not tell about certain situation immediately. For and example, when one of our employees gives their notice/or will be terminated, we has managers always make sure that we have our game plan all worked out. It causes a certain amount of gossip and worry amoungst the staff. I have found that if you can give the staff the full story and answer all their questions the change goes over more smoothly. But at times there is a need to inform certain staff sooner, like if questions are going to be directed at them or they are needed to work more shifts. What ever decision makes the change easier for everyone, staff and managers is the right decision. So if you find that you should be in the "know" because it affects you when you are not, express that to your manager. Tell them what happens to you and how it affects you and what you might want to know before the entire staff is aware.

I agree with Beth. Many times managers just don't think about who needs to know what. Try sitting down with your supervisor as already suggested and explain what types of information you need to know and especially how this can help you to help and support them better and more effectively. When they understand that keeping you informed of certain types of things will actually help them they are more inclined to remember to notify you. But also remember that it may take more than one conversation or reminder. If your supervisor isn't used to informing you about things, it'll probably take several reminders for them to begin notifying you on a regular basis.

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