We all know that communication is the key to a successful relationship. Yet, failure in communication; rather a misinterpretation of words or actions is what creates fissures in our interactions with people. And, this applies to our professional relationships as well.

In today’s fast-paced and highly demanding work environments, stress is numbing our enthusiasm to excel. Managers in people management roles, themselves are under constant pressure to perform with budget and other resource constraints. Thus, understanding where your boss/manager stands vis-à-vis the team and individuals that he handles and, his own superiors, holds the key to assuaging a lot of those gaps in communication and warding off unnecessary stress.

Read on to learn about the 10 significant signs from your boss and how to interpret them. This will help you create a more positive work environment.

1.    When your Boss says ‘No’

This is the simplest rule to follow! A ‘no’ from your boss; or a situation where he/she doesn’t say much on a given issue, suggests that the matter has to end then and there!

2.    Excessive Email And/or Phone Calls from Your Boss

Have you been lax about reporting updates lately? Then expect reminder emails or phone calls from your boss. It means you need to immediately report essential developments of the project. ‘Give regular updates’, is what your boss is suggesting here!

3.    Boss ‘Appears’ Not to Support You

The message your boss is trying to convey is “you are valuable but so is the team”. No matter what problems you are facing, there is only so much your boss can do for you every time! And, an ideal manager will not waste time in conveying that to you verbally. It is a clear indication that you must learn to get along with team members as each individual of the team is important to the unbiased manager.

4.    Your Boss Appreciates an Idea But doesn’t Implement It

Your boss might absolutely love your idea or suggestions for a project, but often budget, time and other constraints will rule a manger’s decisions…so don’t feel let down when your ideas are not implemented.

5.    As Long as the Work Gets Done!

This oft-heard statement suggests that your boss doesn’t want to watch over you like a hawk. Micro managing is not what good managers do and, it’s your duty to make sure that your boss doesn’t! So, whether you are opting for leave, going for a movie or want to return home earlier, make sure that deadlines are met.

6.    Your Boss Seems to have No Time For You

Learn to appreciate that your boss has more responsibilities than you do and thus he/she will not be available to give you a patient hearing for everything each time. If you want to discuss promotion, increment, or just the weather – see to it that your boss is really in the ‘mood’ for such a discussion and has the time. Try to therefore read when it is a good ‘time’ to say what and how!

7.    Your Boss is Incommunicado

Unfortunately, this signals serious issues! It could mean a crisis related to higher management – an issue with restructuring, or graver concerns with the team or individuals within it. Respect your boss’ silence – and, don’t expect him to spill the beans right away!

8.   Your Boss Wants feedback

This is a great sign, for it suggests that your boss is open to adopting changes! However don’t get over enthusiastic and start criticizing. Rather, offer a balanced view….after all he/she is seeking feedback, not an emotional judgment!

9.    Impersonal Tactics

When you notice your boss is being impersonal about matters related to salary, projects, deadlines, etc. it usually means he has no good news to offer right then. And it might also mean that he does not know when the situation will change. Take the hint and avoid questioning him on those topics.

10.  That Irreverent Smile

The last and, most complex bit on reading signs, is to understand what’s behind that irreverent smile from your boss! If you are pleading for an off, it could mean ‘the matter is under consideration’. When you discuss increment, it means ‘you are expecting too much’. When you’re asking too many questions it means ‘stop right away’!

Well, the key to reading your boss is actually not much different from how you would read most people. All it requires is some patience and a bit of experience, which one gains eventually!


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