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Each week, our workplace whisperer Shane Loughnane answers a reader-submitted question about problems at work. Anything nagging at you? Ask Shane here.
I love my job. But recently my boss has implemented policies that have been well-intentioned, but off-kilter. I discovered most of these ideas come from a workplace culture book he’s been reading. That would be fine, except I happen to know the author of this book (I lived with him in college) and my boss is interpreting the suggestions in a way I know the author never intended, leading to uncomfortable implementation that I think is putting our wonderful workplace culture at risk. Without coming off as “actually, I know better than you,” even though I have the “credentials” of knowing the author, how do I bring this up with him?—L.
Today is a day that many will spend reading from what is often cited as the most misinterpreted book of all time. Of course, old roommates of the apostle Paul and other biblical authors who might offer revealing insights aren’t exactly an “Icebreaker” Q&A away.
Depending on your current relationship with the author, what if you were to arrange for your boss to have coffee/lunch (or some remote meeting) with them? Say to your boss, “I noticed you’ve been reading [insert book] and, small world, I happen to know [insert author] remove well. I’d be happy to put you two in touch.” Mention to your ex-roommate that your boss has been implementing policies inspired by her book, in order to pique her interest (and all but guarantee the topic comes up). I think if you set the stage properly, there’s a good chance the author might be inclined to offer course-correction himself.
The less clandestine approach is to simply provide the feedback to your boss directly. If your workplace culture is truly wonderful, then ideally it promotes honest and open feedback. Even without having to rely on the “credentials” of whose dirty dishes you once cursed, you should always feel comfortable tactfully sharing how policy and cultural changes are impacting your workplace experience.
Good luck—and if you need any advice from my old college roommate, his most recent publication was a gripping Facebook post about choosing the best standalone A/C unit for his garage.