How Do I Regain Effectiveness Diminished By Boss?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about bossed/boss communication:

My supervisor encourages our organizational staff to let him know when they have “concerns” about staff or issues within his division by communicating with him directly. In proactive, when employees Email him complaining or criticizing me (for example), my boss forwards the EMail to me but doesn’t want me to respond. He also doesn’t usually copy me in on a response back to the complainant (if one is provided). Over time, this has led me to resent and mistrust colleagues who don’t take time to get the facts before firing off their Emails, and it makes me question what is the purpose of forwarding the Emails since we can’t defend ourselves from situations that we aren’t supposed to know exist? Can you suggest a more productive approach that my boss or I can use in these instances? I prefer that he would encourage complaining employees to confront the person or situation in person so that a resolution or agreement can be negotiated. Thank you for your assistance.

Signed, Encouraged-Discouraged

Dear Encouraged-Discouraged:

It is good to know that some form of communication is occurring at your place of employment relative to “concerns and/or issues” within your division. I suggest that you approach your supervisor concerning the emails that are being forwarded to you from him. First, to thank him for sending/informing you of the issue that someone has presented to him by email and second, to let him know that you plan to follow up on the matter by discussing the “issue” directly with the person who sent it to him. In your question, you said that he did not want you to “respond.” I assume that this meant that did not want you to send an email back to the person informing him of the issue. I would tell him in general what you plan to tell the person and that he is welcome to be with you when you have the meeting. You might want to suggest that in the future that complaining employees should write you directly but send a copy of the email to the him, as supervisor Then he would be informed of the concerned “issue.”

I do think that it is important to follow up on matters that coworkers bring to the attention of the supervisor. If constructive action is not taken, the staff will stop bringing up these matters, which probably should be discussed. I believe the first step is to have a clear understanding between yourself and the supervisor as you work toward improved communication at your workplace. Best of luck.

Gerald Allen, Guest HR Respondent