I had a discussion with a friend the other day about communication at the office. As assistants, are we supposed to know everything? Or read other people’s minds? Can we assume something should be done? Or do we ask about it before starting the project? Should we be proactive and start on something before getting the instructions?
Some of us have been doing our jobs a long time. We’ve seen it all. Bosses who don’t know anything. Bosses who think they know everything. Bosses who are just competent enough. Young bosses who don’t know anything yet. Young bosses who are afraid to speak up.
Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.
My friend and her boss? The boss is young, the assistant has been around for many years. The boss seems afraid to ask for anything or put a time line on a project. So the assistant does what she does in a timely manner, and maybe doesn’t ask enough questions herself. So it seems to be a standoff. Except the assistant didn’t know she didn’t know some things. “Oh, this needs to be done by 3:00? How could I have known that if you didn’t tell me?”
Communication is vital, especially in a law office. Everyone involved needs to know the rules, the timing, the status of each project. Tenure on a job doesn’t give someone the gift of reading minds.
What do you think? Have you encountered this before? How does an assistant encourage a boss to speak up without being bossy or insubordinate? Asking for a friend.