Dear Dan: Our New Boss is A.D.D.

Hi Dan!

My team got new leadership about a year ago. While our new manager is very nice and easy to get along with, most people on the team are concerned at his lack of interest in certain parts of team member tasks.

We are in Marketing, and while that is a creative department, there’s always the “down in the trenches” work that is more detailed and not as “fun” as other areas. We feel like his disinterest in those areas is affecting our efficiency.

He also is a little “A.D.D.” in that he gets distracted and checks out quickly in those instances where he starts to get bored.

My question to you, as an avid reader of your blog. How do you feel subordinates should address issues with their leadership in such circumstances? I want him to succeed, we all do, but it’s hard to get around the idea of telling your boss he needs to step up to our level, and realize the devil is in those details he gets so bored with.

Hope you have some advice. Thank you for listening!

In the Trenches

Dear Ditch Digger,

Be thankful for what you have. Many would love a boss who stays out of their business.

Give him the benefit of the doubt. You think he’s disinterested. Perhaps he respects your talent and autonomy.

Give each other the respect and interest you want from the boss.

The above ideas may feel dissatisfying. In that case, give the boss feedback using A. B.E.E.R.

  1. Aspiration
  2. Behavior
  3. Effect
  4. Expect
  5. Result

How to give the boss feedback:

#1. Ask about aspirations.

  1. “How did you get into Marketing?”
  2. “What do you enjoy about Marketing?”
  3. “What type of leader do you hope to be/become?”
  4. “How did you earn this leadership position?”
  5. “What do people see in you that makes them trust/respect your leadership?” (Not a subtle accusation.)

(You may want to casually explore his aspirations over a few weeks.)

Sincere interest in people overcomes resistance to feedback.

#2. Describe the behaviors that don’t serve him well. Be specific. “You seem disinterested,” is an interpretation.  Say, “I notice that you fidget and look around the room when I talk about details.”

#3. Explain the effect of his behaviors on you. Say, “When you fidget and look around the room, I feel disrespected. It seems like you aren’t interested.”

#4. Illustrate what you expect. “You seem interested when you maintained eye contact and asked questions.” “I would feel respected if you noticed the detail-work by occasionally saying, “Thanks for caring about the details.”

#5. Describe the result you’re after. His respect, appreciation, and interest will energize you, encourage the team, and help him fulfill his aspirations.

Tip: Speak for yourself, not others.

You have my best,

Dan

What suggestions do you have for “Ditch Digger?”

*I don’t include the “Hi Dan” part of this post in my 300 word limit.

Added resources:

How to Give Your Boss Feedback (HBR)

Four Tips for Giving Your Manager Feedback (Forbes)

How to Give Constructive Feedback to a Toxic Boss (Entrepreneur)