I've been noticing lately that my boss and I do not communicate well. We are both high I's and high C's but he is low S and my S is crazy off the charts. 

I prefer one on one verbal communication - he would like all discussions written in email. This leads to my team often having to answer the same question twice. I've gotten better about having the verbal discussion and putting it into email after but he thinks I'm "slow" when I'm actually having a conversation and sending out feedback.

Additionally he jumps to conclusions very quickly and doesn't give me time to complete or fully explain. I find this very hard and I've made an effort to shorten up my responses. He often shuts me down before I have a chance to explain my thought process. As a result I feel and see myself shutting down and I don't like this but I also don't like having to constantly in the middle of a fight. I think my manager and I need to have a discussion about this but I'm not sure how to start.


ssentes's picture
Admin Role Badge

I am sorry, I am a bit confused by what you mean when you say "We are both high I's and high C's but he is low S and my S is crazy off the charts".  I think what you are saying is that you are a "High I High S" and your boss is a "High C". Knowing both of your numbers would be helpful.

That said, regardless of the number, you need to give him the bottom line up front and do it in email format. If your boss prefers communication in email rather than verbally you should be starting with email first rather than a conversation. Your team is likely having to answer questions twice because your boss heard the message first verbally (not his preferred communication method). Then when the email comes through he thinks that he's already heard the message so does not want to waste his time on the same topic again. Remember, communication is what the listener does, if you communicate to him in a style you prefer he will not hear your message. If you think the topic of the mail warrants a verbal communication as well mention in the mail that you'd like to discuss further at his convenience.

Now on to the mail itself, use a bottom line up front approach. The first sentence in your mail should cover the point of the mail and be the most important line. The sentence itself should stand on its own so that if the reader only reads this one sentence they know the purpose of the mail. It even helps if you seperate it from the rest of your mail by adding spaces between it and the remainder of the mail. Then after you write this sentence you can follow up with the background details that you feel are necessary to explain fully. I understand that he often does not want to hear the thought process so put it at the bottom of the mail and give him the choice to read it or not.

I understand that this is not your preferred communication method and this will likely be uncomfortable to you at the beginning. Please trust me when I say that its worth the effort and your boss will appreciate it immensely. Shutting down is not the answer you just need to communicate to him in a language he understands. Please try this approach for a few months before you propose any sort of discussion about it with your boss. I am certain this will aleviate the pains you are both experiencing in communication with one another. If your boss gets frustrated and thinks you talk "slow" now, a conversation about it will not help you out. That doesn't make him a bad person, just different than you.

Sarah Sentes - Manager Tools Presenting Associate