Communicating With Your Boss – Do’s and Don’t’s


The communication with a boss is a delicate business. The following of the formal rules and subordination is an essential part of the corporate culture. The absence of the strict norms of interpersonal interaction in some companies may confuse an employee who is new in a workplace and has not grasped the complexion of communication with a supervisor. Moreover, the lack of the formal relationships should not be misunderstood as the void of hierarchy. The importance of adequate interaction with the employer is crucial for the process of understanding the individual and group goals of the company, the efficient execution of job responsibilities, and the good relationships with the supervisor. The effective ways of communication is a lever for personal and career growth, the while weak interaction strategy and its delivery may result in dissatisfaction with employee’s role in the company, interpersonal relationships, and the whole vision of the worker-boss dynamics.

Importance of the Adequate Communication

The effective interaction in the workplace brings benefits which contribute to the numerous advantages that the employee and the firm can exercise. First of all, the adequate communication helps to construct and cultivate positive relationships with the colleagues and supervisors. These can be a foundation for building up a strong team that has the common goals, visions, and well-tailored plan of realization of the aims. Free flow of information, friendly atmosphere for the open discussion, and usage and availability of technology create the base for innovation: “more successful communication technologies, email and phone, allow interface innovation to co-exist within a well-defined communication channel” (Turner, Qvarfordt, Biehl, Golovchinsky & Back, p. 849).

The efficient delivery media of the interaction, along with the quality of information and the style of addressing the message, influence both: the employee and the boss. The clear and sufficient information, which is properly constructed, conveys the manager with the insight of the issue. At the same time, the supervisor who can effectively express her vision, outline the problems and possible solutions, as well as motivate employees for the particular actions, is more efficient in terms of management of workers and implementing organization’s goals. Ruck and Welch found that the “communication is undermined by a lack of senior manager clarity and commitment to value. A changing communication environment calls for new approaches to assessment with an emphasis on communities, content and dialogue” (Ruck & Welch, p. 301). Moreover, the role of employee’s statement becomes more important. The favorable outcomes of the effective interaction in the workplace can be achieved if the worker addresses the boss with the genuine message while does not forget to follow the formal or informal rules of communication.

Effective Ways of Communication

As described previously the good relationships inside the company and with the employer, in particular, is a crucial part of the job satisfaction, excellent performance, and personal and professional growth. The following tips can enhance the relationships with the boss and put them on a new professional level. First, the acknowledgment of the manager’s time provides the comprehensive understanding of scheduling. Considering a specific day or time for a meeting and discussion of existing problems and their solutions or any other relevant questions will make the employee a respectful worker who understands the business processes (Marques, p. 53). Second, the clear address of the problem allows the employer evaluate worker’s awareness about a particular issue. The centered and directed information creates more productive communication (Robles, p. 457).

Third, the comprehension of subordination rules means acceptance by the employee her role in the organization: Does she have a “right” to address her message to the boss? Highly probable that the supervisor reduces the number of workers with whom she can communicate. Thus, if the employee is not the one of those who has direct access to the boss, she should find a person who can deliver her message to the supervisor. Fourth, the understanding of the personal style of persuasion, along with the individuality of the boss and the ways how she percepts and assesses information, is a helpful tool for the effective communication with the employer. As Marturano argues, the exploring the advantages of worker’s primary persuasive style while recognizing needs and desires of the audience to whom a message is directed, the employee can easily express her ideas and views (Marturano, p. 7). Fifth, the result of communication is significant because it demonstrates the initial purpose of worker’s intension to inform the boss about the issue. If the employee can outline the probable outcome of the problem, her message may also include the reasons which lead to the formation of the issue and plausible ways of solving it. All these are a symbol for the boss that the employee does not waste either her or manager’s time and have done a profound research and analysis of the issue.

Inefficient Means of Communication

The presence of Do’s implies the existence of Don’t’s that should not be executed by the worker if she wants to develop and maintain the reliable and effective relationships with the boss. The features of inefficient communication are closely linked to the productive addressing methods. For example, the employee has to consider, at the first place, the interests of her audience and in this case it means the concerns of her boss (Marturano, p. 12). Without this regard, the supervisor cannot understand the point of worker’s message and its actuality. Another aspect is a lack of transparency in the provided information and the way of its delivery (Brunetto, Farr-Wharton & Shacklock, p. 232). Not clear information may signify that the employee has not prepared her address in a comprehensive manner or does not have enough expertise to rise and evaluate the issue. As an outcome, the boss will perceive this kind of message as an unnecessary waste of time which hazards the construction of strong relationships between the boss and employee.


The understanding of subordination and hierarchy is a foundation for building effective communication with the boss. The simplicity and clarity of the address, along with the thorough vision of the problem, stimulate the supervisor for the positive assessment of the worker who wants deliver the message, while a lack of transparency and overload with irrelevant information demonstrate the ignorance and misunderstanding by employee her role in the organization.


Brunetto, Y, Farr-Wharton, R & Shacklock, K 2011, ‘Supervisor–subordinate communication relationships, role ambiguity, autonomy and affective commitment for nurses’, Contemporary Nurse, vol. 39, no. 2, pp.227-239.

Marques, J 2010, ‘Enhancing the quality of organizational communication’, Journal of Communication Management, vol. 14, no. 1, pp.47-58.

Marturano, J 2015, Finding the space to lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership, Bloomsbury Press, London.

Robles, M 2012, ‘Executive Perceptions of the Top 10 Soft Skills Needed in Today’s Workplace’, Business Communication Quarterly, vol. 75, no. 4, pp.453-465.

Ruck, K & Welch, M 2012, ‘Valuing internal communication; management and employee perspectives’, Public Relations Review, vol. 38, no. 2, pp.294-302.

Turner, T, Qvarfordt, P, Biehl, J T, Golovchinsky, G, & Back, M 2010, ‘Exploring the workplace communication ecology’. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 841-850.

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