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 Feedback Blaming E-mail

My manager emailed some questions about one of our company's programs, and I immediately stopped what I was doing and spent a few hours handling his request. I emailed my write-up to him, and he emailed me back and said I did everything wrong. I told him that my interpretation of his request could easily have been the right way to go. He told me to do it again, and do it his way. I think this was his failure, and he thinks it was mine. What do you think?

In these types of situations, finger-pointing is pointless. If you insist on knowing the ownership of this failure, the answer is that it belongs to both of you. For communication to be effective, it is essential to have feedback between the sender and receiver of a message, and that responsibility rests with both parties. One could easily argue that your manager should have followed-up after he sent his request to you and inquired about your understanding of his message. However, one could just as easily argue that you should have emailed him back and let him know how you plan to proceed, whether he asks for feedback or not. By making feedback part of the communication process now, you are far less likely to receive negative feedback from him in the future.

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!