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Management article
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Reference no. C0504A
Authors: Anne Field
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Published in: "Harvard Management Communication Letter", 2005

Abstract

When a boss can''t communicate directly about problems, the performance of employees in his unit suffers. Employees routinely receive less-than-forthcoming performance appraisals and, thus, get little clear guidance on developing their strengths or overcoming their weaknesses. They find it difficult to get the resources they need to complete a project because the boss refuses to stick up for them. And their productivity suffers because they have to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort finding out what the boss really thinks of them. Fortunately, there are strategies you can employ to force needed discussions without making your boss feel he''s being backed into a corner, say communication experts. The first step is to consider why the conflict-averse boss is the way he is.

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Abstract

When a boss can''t communicate directly about problems, the performance of employees in his unit suffers. Employees routinely receive less-than-forthcoming performance appraisals and, thus, get little clear guidance on developing their strengths or overcoming their weaknesses. They find it difficult to get the resources they need to complete a project because the boss refuses to stick up for them. And their productivity suffers because they have to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort finding out what the boss really thinks of them. Fortunately, there are strategies you can employ to force needed discussions without making your boss feel he''s being backed into a corner, say communication experts. The first step is to consider why the conflict-averse boss is the way he is.

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