How to Get What You Need From a Non-Communicative Executive

Posted on Monday, March 30, 2020 by Top London PANo comments

One of the main reasons why PAs look for a new job is that their manager doesn’t communicate effectively. It can be immensely frustrating, but before you give up and call our PA recruitment agency, try these strategies. If they don’t work, then it’s time to move on.

Communication skills aren’t guaranteed

You and thousands of other PAs in London know and recognise the value of effective communication. You know how much easier life is when there are clear expectations developed through excellent communication.

You’d think executives would be just as clued up. However, it’s no given that executives are good communicators. It might even be an area of weakness for them. 44% of respondents to an Economist Intelligence Unit study stated that communication issues delay and derail projects, with nearly a third saying it causes low morale. If this is the case, then you’ll need to be the one driving an effective partnership and collaboration. But how? Well, here are some ideas:

Questions are your friend

Rather waiting for your boss to communicate with you, take the lead. An easy way of doing this is to ask specific questions. Where possible, do this directly or verbally, rather than by email, as you’re more likely to get an answer there and then. You can always follow up with an email if needed.

Use questions to clarify and confirm things. It can help you find any information you need to know.

Why is there a problem?

Ineffective communication doesn’t stem from one thing. Consider why there’s a problem. Perhaps your executive is travelling and doesn’t have the right technology for quick communication? Maybe they don’t realise that they’re being non-communicative? Is it just you having issues with them?

Consider talking together so you can highlight problems you’re having as a result of poor communication. Sometimes, just letting someone know can be the solution.

Trace it back

Often, when there’s a communication problem, it’s because the communicator makes assumptions about the recipient’s level of knowledge. They’re usually communicating something that may be may be new to you, but about which they’ve already completed their thought process.

Ask your executive to go back a step, so you can get a better understanding of their motivation and reasoning.

Come from another angle

If you’re still not getting what you need, try looking at things from a new angle. For example, you could repeat back to your executive what you have understood.  This can help them see what they could explain more clearly, helping you get to the core of the matter and establish priorities.

Think about yourself too

Communication is a two-way process. Consider how you may inadvertently be contributing to the problem. Gaining insight into your own communication strengths and weaknesses can help.

If, despite your best attempts, you’re unable to resolve the communication difficulties between you and your executive, take a look at our new PA jobs in London and get a fresh start.


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