Communicate better with your boss

Having a healthy relationship with your boss can make your time at work much more pleasant. Effective communication plays an important role in just how well the two of you will get along.

Unfortunately, your boss may not be totally candid about how he or she wants to communicate with you, and you may need to figure it out on your own. Think about your interactions with your boss. Then answer these questions and adapt your style to your supervisor’s preferences:

  • What kind of information does your boss want? Do you find that he or she prefers detailed explanations or brief summaries? If it is the former, ensure that you have complete and accurate details. If it is the latter, focus on being clear and concise.
  • How does your boss prefer to receive information? Does your boss prefer for you to send email summaries or reports before meeting with you in person? Or does he or she like to hear a summary from you first before reading additional information?
  • When does your boss want to receive information? Is your boss more receptive to conversations first thing in the morning, or perhaps he or she seems less occupied after lunch? How often does your boss like to receive updates? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?

Note: If after putting some thought into it, you aren’t sure, your best bet is to ask.

— Adapted from “Figure Out Your Manager’s Communication Style,” Harvard Business Review,