Supervisory Leadership

Site Map About Wally Bock Media Center Speeches & Training
Home Page
Book Reviews
Got a Question or Comment?
Wally Bock Answers Your
Supervisory Leadership Question

What do you do when employees misinterpret what you say?

I'm not sure there's a "morning after" solution for this problem that would work with all the variations, but there are several good preventative measures. They're important because bosses tend to think they do a far better job of communicating than is actually the case.

When I work with an organization we often survey the bosses and their subordinates to get a comparison of views on several leadership issues. One of those is the ability to give clear directions.

Usually, two thirds or more of the bosses think they give good directions. Their subordinates disagree, with usually half or more thinking their boss gives lousy directions. Since bosses haven't been trained to ask for feedback, this can be a significant disconnect.

The first step, obviously, is to get the boss to check and see if the message got through. Active listening skills should be a part of this, but I also suggest that the boss require the suboriniate to summarize the discussion in an email.


You may reprint or repost this article providing that the following conditions are met:

  • The article remains essentially unaltered.
  • Wally Bock is shown as the author.
  • The notice Copyright 2005 by Wally Bock or similar appears on the article.
  • Contact information for Wally is included with the article. You may refer readers to this Web site as a way to meet this requirement, or use the information on our contact page.

Any other reprinting or reposting requires specific permission which is almost always granted. Click here to request permission if necessary.


Got a supervisory leadership question for Wally? He'll answer as many questions as his workload permits and put the ones with most universal interest on this site. By asking your question you agree that it may appear here at some future time. Your name and affiliation will not be used on the site in conjunction with your question.

To ask Wally a supervisory leadership question, click here to go to our question form.


© 2005 Wally Bock. Click for Contact Information.