Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Communication Fear Responsiveness Feedback

My manager gave me an assignment and said it was an easy one that I should be able to handle without any problem. I am finding that it is not so easy, and I have some questions, but I am afraid to ask them for fear of looking foolish. What do you suggest?

If you think you'll look foolish now, think how you are going to look when this so-called easy project is done all wrong because you were afraid to ask some questions. If your manager thinks less of you because you ask a few questions, then there are more than a few questions about his or her managerial skills.

Since you should definitely ask the questions that are on your mind, one way to do so under these circumstances is to put them in the context of a broader discussion. Tell your manager that you would like to meet with him or her to discuss where you are on the project. In this meeting, review the work that you have completed and express your thoughts on the various strategies that you are considering for the rest of the project. You can place any of your questions within this framework, and there is virtually no way that you will appear overwhelmed or befuddled.

A project at its outset can easily appear to be easy, but once the superficialities are peeled away, the complexities can be enormous. By asking questions, you are showing that there is no question about your self-confidence and desire to produce high quality work.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!