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Manage Your Boss, Elegantly

Q.3 OUR BOSS DRIVES US CRAZY because he never gives clear directions. He’ll tell our department to do one thing, then an hour later come by our desks and say he never told us to do it that way, but to do it another way. He thinks we’re some kind of mind readers, yet we’re just employees trying to do as we’re told. What can we do about this nutty situation?

A. CHICAGO’S LATE MAYOR RICHARD J. DALEY’S public relations man (the late) Earl Bush once famously said, “Don’t write what he said, write what he meant.” You may try to paraphrase that for your boss: “Don’t do as he said, do as he means.”  But remember that may require you asking a question or two before you start each project, to determine exactly what it is he wants you to do and what the final product is expected to be. Clarify before beginning, and he will get the idea, too.

Sensible 'Martini Lunch'

Slow Down, Start-Up!