How do you deal with a boss who seems to have no clue what you do at�work? Oh sure, he (she) knows that if he asks you to do something, you get it done; but he doesn’t really appear to understand how much work was involved in accomplishing it. You get the impression that he feels a simple snap of the fingers magically makes things happen. It’s frustrating at times, and can cause you to feel quite unappreciated.

This is actually a fairly easy issue to deal with. All it takes is a little time, and repetition of the following two techniques:

1. Clarify

Whenever he dumps a task on you, ask him a couple of questions to clarify the steps you should take. For example, if your boss asks for a report to compare sales with staffing levels, you could say something like, “Absolutely! Now the employee hours are in a Microsoft Excel format, and sales are stored in an SQL database. I’ll have to spend some time converting them into the same format. Which format would you prefer it to end up in?”

The fact that you might already know the answer to the question is irrelevant. And it doesn’t matter if your boss turns to you and says “I don’t care, do what you think is best.” What matters is that you’ve just gently conveyed to your boss that there is a little more to the process than just waving a magic wand over your computer.

2. Manage expectations

Don’t just say “I’ll get right on it,” or “I’ll have it for you right away.” Estimate how long it will take you, and then add 30% for a cushion. Give him a precise time or date. If your boss asks why it’s going to take so long, you now have an opportunity to go into excruciating detail of the process and the things you have to do to accomplish the task. You now have the boss’s permission to educate him on what you do.

Try it, and watch what happens over a period of time. You may be surprised at how differently the boss starts to treat you.

One important thing to note: Most bosses love having that ‘go-to’ person – someone who just gets things done and doesn’t require a lot of hand-holding. If you’re in that role, don’t get too discouraged if you don’t get a lot of feedback. Your boss appreciates it. Really.

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