Career Woman

You’ve got this: dealing with a lack of direction from your boss

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Dr Froswa’ Booker-Drew answers your questions, putting her years of experience and practice into the goal of solving those knotty problems that beset us, and assuring us: ‘you’ve got this’. If you’d like Froswa’ to look at your particular problem, email it to [email protected].

Question:  What do you do if you don’t get any direction regarding priorities from the individual or supervisor making the request or setting the expectations? Kelsey T.

Kelsey:

There are a number of ways to view this situation:

  1. Either your boss has the utmost confidence in your ability to make things happen
  2. Your boss is so overwhelmed and too busy to tell you what to do
  3. Your boss doesn’t understand what you do and can’t offer any guidance but just wants results

Scenario 1 is great but you have no idea if what you are doing is meeting their desired objectives.  Scenario 2 and 3 are not in your favor because there is no leadership available to help you.  It means that you will have to take the lead in the situation.  Is there a strategic plan for the organization or your department that you can review to ensure your goals align with the vision of the company?  Are their others that have been in the position previously that you can review their work or plans to have a better idea of what has occurred?  Do you and your boss have one on one meetings often to discuss your progress?  If not, this might be a start.

I think it is important to arrange a meeting with your boss to review your accomplishments and your upcoming goals to determine focus and expectations.  Place your goals into three categories—wins, worries and woes.  Wins are the tasks that you have confidence in accomplishing.  They don’t require a lot of effort on your part to coordinate and implement.  Worries are those projects that you have concerns with or need more information to execute.  Woes are projects that you have started (or even completed) that have caused headaches or will require enormous assistance to make a reality.  With this format, you can get your boss to offer insight and help prioritize what’s important.  Hopefully, this will help you so you can move forward and feel confident about your decisions with your boss’s support.  It might also illuminate your boss’s limitations as a leader (which you might already be fully aware of) so be prepared for that possibility as well.  Continue doing the great work you are doing in your area, Kelsey.  I’ve been watching you from afar and I’m glad you reached out.  I’m honored to help in some small way!  You. Got. This.

About Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew is a Partnership Broker. Relational Leadership Junkie. Connector. Author/Speaker/Trainer. Co-Founder, HERitage Giving Circle. She been quoted and profiled in Forbes, Ozy, Bustle, Huffington Post and other media outlets around the world. In addition, she has been asked to speak on a variety of topics such as social capital and networking, leadership, diversity, and community development to national and international audiences. This included serving as a workshop presenter at the United Nations in 2013 on the Access to Power. One of the most impactful life events for her was being a part of the documentary, Friendly Captivity, a film that followed a cast of 7 women from Dallas to India. Honors for her work include: Semi-finalist for the SMU TEDx in 2012, 2012 Outstanding African American Alumni Award from the University of Texas at Arlington, 2009 Woman of the Year Award by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Diversity Ambassador for the American Red Cross. Graduating with a PhD from Antioch University in Leadership and Change, she also attended the Jean Baker Miller Institute at Wellesley for training in Relational Cultural Theory and completed facilitator training on Immunity to Change. She has also completed training through UNICEF on Equity Based Evaluations, and is the author of 2 workbooks for women, Ready for a Revolution: 30 Days to Jolt Your Life and Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last as well as a writer for several publications around the globe.

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