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Communication Change Feedback Moodiness

Q. We have noticed that our boss seems preoccupied lately. She has been making mistakes and has missed a few appointments, and she is more impatient than she used to be. We don't know if we should just let her work out whatever is going on, or if we should talk to her about this. What do you think?

If you have an open and communicative working relationship with your boss, you should be able to communicate openly on any issues that are having an impact on departmental performance and productivity. Since the changes in her behavior seem to be doing just that, you and some of your associates should meet with her. While the changes in her behavior may disappear on their own, these types of changes often worsen.

However, this does not mean that you should meet with her to discuss your diagnosis of the problem. In fact, that will only create problems. Her behavioral changes could be the result of any number of factors, including health concerns, family matters, financial difficulties, job dissatisfaction, substance abuse, or a myriad of other issues. If you come in with all of the answers, there is no question that she will resist you.

You can do far more good by telling her that you are concerned about her and some of her recent actions. Give her a few specifics, and then ask if there is anything that you can do to help. Once you ask that question, let her talk. Her response may well tell you where this situation is heading, and where you and your associates should be heading.

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