Our divison exists since beginning of this year. The team consists of 4 people.

Currently my manager says "yes" to every opportunity. I think that he is often not aware what he wants to achieve with taking this opportunity.

Currently, I am handling all important topics in our department and prepare all sensitive documents/slides, which my manager needs for a decision of the executives.

The process of my manager currently looks like the following:

  1. My manager sees/gets talked into an opportunity and decides that we should do it.
  2. I am preparing the slides, often pushing quite hard to get all the important information.
  3. After giving him the slides, it takes quite some time for him to look at the slides and if he does not get reminded he totally forgets about having a final look at my work.
  4. When he reviews the slides he is often extremely critical - which is a good thing in my opinion! - about the final result and changes a lot, like throwing away a lot of slides, which took lots of effort from my side, which won`t get shown to the board in the end.

On step 4. of this process I often feel disappointed, because on the one hand I am feeling that I am not doing the right things in the end and somehow also have to manage a work overload on which he does not take a look. Furthermore, sometimes I do not know where we are heading with this work as the goal is unclear to me.

What should I do?


1 Answer 1


Communication is key in areas like this. This is why "must have strong communication skills" is almost always in every job description; This is because often there are others who simply cannot communicate very well. I think the problem is two fold really.

  1. Too much detail/incorrect focus; It sounds like you might be focusing too much on small details or contextual items versus focusing on the bigger picture or larger details. K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple, Stupid ... often this is best for executives who may not have the technical background or expertise to understand/care about your excellent and extremely detailed (no matter how good) presentations.
  2. Minimal to No Effective Communication; It also sounds like your manager is not communicating enough with you nor you with him. Rather than work at all out sprint pace to keep things "on-track" perhaps talk to him and carve an adequate amount of time at the beginning and/or the end of the day to discuss the presentation and make sure work is not being wasted...
    • Beginning of the Day (15 Minutes) Review & Goal setting; establish some goals regarding the presentation and make sure anything not previously covered gets brought up and decisions are made about the presentation.
    • End of the Day (45 Minutes - 1 Hour) Analysis & Revaluation; Discuss key points about the presentation: analyze slides, information, context, formatting, detail, etc. This is where a lot of the "wasted" time and work are trimmed from the equation because there is a coherent and clear result that you and he/she are striving for and consistent discussion throughout the process to ensure delays and mistakes are avoided.

These meetings, however organized, are important times where communication and review can be accomplished so that the project/presentation stays on track, on time, on budget, and on point with what needs to be done. This should reduce errors and wasted time. If you manager can't or won't prioritize the time in his/her schedule to have these meetings then let them know that you and he/she need to work on a communication process to make sure you are not wasting time, energy, and resources for the project/company. Most managers welcome this communication style and thinking.

If all else fails, pull your manager aside in the middle of the day (each day) and have him look over and evaluate how you are doing and give some feedback so you do not waste the rest of the day focusing on something that may be removed in the end anyway. If you need to you can be straight to the point by saying the following:

Hey [Name], I understand we have XYZ project coming up for presentation in ABC time. I want to make sure we work out a system of communication so that I can better focus my time and efforts to reduce removal of work at the end. As you are no doubt aware each time we remove something at the end of project, we have wasted valuable time before by creating said content.

I understand this is inevitable, but with recent the recent projects of DEF, HIJ, KLM, NOP, etc. I have noticed this happening in increasing amounts. I want to make sure I am focusing on the correct items and not wasting my time in the long run. We need to establish a clear plan to articulate our goals, needs, etc. and the client's vision and desires.

This way we, as a team, can better optimize our department and results to meet and exceed expectations. I just want be the best that I can be. Do you see what I am saying?

Try these strategies and the problem should improve and wasted time and effort should be dramatically reduced.

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