I have been asked to complete a document by my direct manager, written by him. Ignoring the english quality itself and focusing on the technical aspect, it's rough ... It's too general with some technical words randomly thrown. Most don't give any useful information to the reader.

I believe this document is intended to be sent to potential customers and am afraid it will simply make them run away or think bad of the company.

I know my task is only to complete it, but doing so without mentioning the rest makes me feel I approve of the rest. This is also possible he asked me to complete it to receive feedback, indirectly.

I'm first going to complete it, but I don't know how to approach him.

  • 1
    Is your manager proficient in the subject matter? Are there things in the doc that are plain wrong? Is this only your impression of the document? Are you allowed to have a coworker proof-read it?
    – Fildor
    Sep 19, 2017 at 11:45
  • 1
    He is not proficient on the subject. I checked with another manager and a colleague who confirmed it. Sep 19, 2017 at 11:51

2 Answers 2


I'm first going to complete it, but I don't know how to approach him.

Just ask.

Something like "Hey, boss. You asked me to complete it. Do you want me to do a quick edit too? I think I spotted a few typos and such." should work.

If he says "No", then just do what you have been directed to do.

  • The first problem is, between the wrong and the syntax, the whole would have to be rewritten, and I don't see a nice way to present this. Second, it's almost as he wanted me to rewrite it Sep 19, 2017 at 11:54
  • @DavidBensoussan What's the cultural context? Would he lose his face if he just asked you to put it into decent english and correct "inaccuracies" directly?
    – Fildor
    Sep 19, 2017 at 11:55
  • @Fildor He wouldn't accept to lose his face. He is a very proud person and IMO, should have asked cooperation of more qualified persons to do the work he couldn't. Sep 19, 2017 at 12:01
  • @JoeStrazzere Ethically, because I don't think it's right that in a company someone spends time so someone else does it again. On a professional matter, it's his responsibility Sep 19, 2017 at 12:03
  • @DavidBensoussan "It's his responsibility" - exactly. If he later tries to blame you for not "warning" him, you still can say you didn't expect this to be the final draft, for obvious reasons ... I am afraid there is nothing to gain if you approach him with "corrections" if he is so "proud" a person.
    – Fildor
    Sep 19, 2017 at 12:08

Have you ever gone through the old documents. whenever I asked to write or complete any thing I tried to review the old one before moving ahead just to get know-how about the style of communication, fonts, punctuation, sentence composition, used vocabulary etc. Because every organization/Company have well define standards to follow by their employees. The best way I would like to suggest you that 1. Review document thoroughly 2. Prioritized requirement (What is actually needed) 3. Use your idea and rephrase it again properly 4. Make a draft and review it again by keeping your boss in mind 5. Share draft (document) with your boss and finally seek his feedback 6. Finalized after incorporating the feedback Most professionally you can do it in this way. No one is perfect and we do mistakes oftenly. I'm sure if you will develop a good document your boss will like it. I have no idea about the behavior and attitude of your boss but I believe that good things catch other attentions easily. In addition, you can also give him a reference of his previous writings (share some good practices which feels him proud).

  • 2
    Can backfire if OP spares too much time editing which wasn't asked for.
    – Fildor
    Sep 19, 2017 at 12:12
  • Completely agree with @Fildor. Also, completing it sounds like a good intention, but it drains time which I don't have. Sep 19, 2017 at 12:26
  • I dont think so, If the person is well aware with his/her responsibility/priorities than they have time to accomplish their work. deadlines are always there.In some cases, Yeh it might be possible that if concerned person don't want to do work. or have some authoritative behavior. but I think It should necessary to allow subordinates to show their creativity.
    – Sundas
    Sep 19, 2017 at 12:28
  • you can never tell your boss that there are a lot mistakes and this document isn't good look to disseminate. So for convincing him/her, I think you need to do what you want and share it afterwards.
    – Sundas
    Sep 19, 2017 at 12:30

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