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What to say when …

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Your boss gives you contradictory information or instructions

“Last Monday, you gave me one set of facts. Today, you’re giving me a different set of facts. This is your area of expertise, and I want to make sure I understand what needs to be done. You know that I hold myself to high standards, and I want to produce findings or results that exceed your expectations. [Prepare to take notes.] In order to do that, can you help me identify exactly what information I should use?”

You’re displeased with an employee who makes too many personal calls

“All of us need to make personal calls at work from time to time. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as calls are made in moderation and hopefully during breaks. In your case, the frequency and length of calls is starting to pose a problem. Not only does this leave you with less time to handle our customers, but it also has the potential to distract or even irritate your colleagues. I’m going to check up on you during the next month. Would you be willing to set aside a limited amount of time per day to make personal calls, say 15 minutes?”

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