I have 6 years of work experience (pre-MBA) and now (post- MBA) for the past 8 months have been working with my current manager. She is Eastern European and has a heavy accent. She's a very nice person but I'm having a really hard time with her as my manager.
I have difficulty understanding her and she makes it difficult to ask her questions/clarifications. For example, I was given an assignment with little context and very specific instructions on what to do. I completed the assignment as such but was later berated because the answers were not logical (through no human error). We have weekly meetings and she never indicated to me that there was something wrong until I was presenting it to the client.
She will also often catch me off-guard by asking quiz-type questions. For example, she once asked me how I would structure a revenue model. When I rattled off what I would do, she cut me off and got frustrated because I hadn't responded with what she had in mind. The other day she quizzed me to see if I knew what components go into calculating a profit margin.
Furthermore, she is notorious within the company for being short-tempered. I have been in several meetings with her where she has been short-tempered and frustrated with others in the company who are at her level or higher. Some in the organization have even approached me and asked me explicitly what it's been like working with her.
My question is: How do I maintain a clear communication channel with my manager in a way that will not result in her getting frustrated and short-tempered with me? I think there is a lot I can learn from her and would love to be able to ask her questions without hesitation or fear. I have never dealt with this type of behavior from a manager before so I sort of just shut down when she begins to show her frustration.