supervisors

Getting supervisors to explain things

Do you have any suggestions for how to ask supervisors and employers to explain something to you in a way that they’ll understand you actually want to know? Ex: I had an issue at work with a girl using her sister’s employee discount at my register, and I didn’t know they were sisters? They could have been married for all I knew and my manager came over to talk to me about it and when I asked how to find out if a person is allowed to use the discount, she basically just said it was obvious.
realsocialskills said:
Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything that works particularly reliably.
One thing I’ve found is that a lot of people really do have trouble understanding that other people don’t know things they know.
Sometimes, if you are really explicit about the fact that you care but don’t quite understand, they eventually get it.
For instance:
  • Manager: You can’t keep letting her sister use her discount card. She’s done it several times at your register.
  • Employee: How do I tell if a person is allowed to use the discount?
  • Manager: Just don’t let people use it if they’re not allowed to.
  • Employee: I definitely want to make sure I’m following the rules, but I’m actually having a lot of trouble telling who is allowed to use the cards. I thought they might have been married or something. How can I tell?

Sometimes that works. Sometimes it just makes them more annoyed. Sometimes it makes them more annoyed, and then works. Sometimes it backfires. Sometimes you have to back down and let them end the conversation by just letting them say it is obvious.

It’s not super reliable, but it’s more reliable than anything else I know of at getting supervisors to explain things.

Another possibility is to accept that the boss isn’t going to explain it to you, and to ask another employee. Sometimes, peers are willing to believe that you don’t understand something and explain it to you, even if the boss doesn’t.

Do any of y'all have strategies for this?

It's ok to say no without giving an explanation

stripesweatersandwaterbottles:

realsocialskills:

RE:- boundaries without anger. Obviously there are exemptions to the following statement where “no" would be enough; but I think the reason a lot of people have problems with personal boundaries in this way is that when someone says no, they are reluctant to provide the reason. If denying/refusing a gift, offer or invitation, answering why is only polite, yet people get frustrated when people ask.

Here are several reasons that folks get annoyed when you ask why:

  • They might not know a clear reason, but know that they don’t want to do the thing. That’s ok. You don’t have to know your reason in order to decide to say no.
  • The reason for saying no might be rude to say. For instance, if you ask someone out and they find you physically unattractive, it would be considered very rude to say so. But it’s an entirely legitimate, and common, reason not to want to date someone.
  • If they’re rejecting a job offer, it might be because they’ve received another offer from someone they think it would be much more pleasant to work with. It can be very difficult to say this politely, and it’s not a good idea to offend people in your network by implying that you think it wouldn’t be nice to work with them.
  • The particular gift might be something they’re upset by the idea of possessing (eg: if you give them an itchy sweater), but it’s never considered polite to say that.
  • The reason might also be complicated to say. For instance, if they like a particular activity, but they find it overloading, so they only do the activity with people they know really well and who know how to react appropriately if the overload gets too bad. Most people don’t even understand that explanation on any level. More people say “of course I can handle that!“ and then get offended if they don’t immediately accept that as true and agree to do the activity.
  • They might think that accepting your gift/offer/invitation will create a kind of relationship they don’t want, and not feel comfortable explaining that. Especially if they’re not quite sure why they feel that way.
  • The reason might be private. For instance, if you’re a man and you ask out a closeted lesbian, she has every right not to want to come out to you.
  • Or, if someone finds a particular kind of movie triggering because of past abuse, they might not want to tell people about this. They might rather just quietly say no.
  • They might think that if they give a reason, you’ll just argue about the reason. Given that you didn’t just take no for an answer to begin with, this is a legitimate concern

At bottom, people don’t owe you an explanation. When you ask for one, you’re implying that people need your permission to have boundaries. Further, you’re implying that you will only give this permission if you think they have a good reason.

Even if you don’t mean it that way, that’s how it comes off. It puts pressure on people that no one likes to experience. If they wanted to give you a reason, they would have done so when they said no to begin with.

so when I ask why not, people see it as challenging/threatening? Oops. Lots of oops. I ask so I can try to figure out what other situations might also get a “no.” This explains a great many issues with bosses and supervisors I’ve had before. I also just like knowing to make sure it is of sound logic not to do something or do it a certain way. My mind works on the get-as-much-info-as-possible-and-then-decide-what is best mode. Questioning “authority" is fucking confusing.

It can be a bit more complicated than that. 

Sometimes when bosses and supervisors say no to something, you might think they don’t have some relevant information. Or you might want clarification about what it is they’re saying no to, exactly.

It’s usually ok to ask for clarification, and it’s sometimes ok to tell them relevant things you think they might not know.

The problem is when you come off like you think that they’re not entitled to make decisions without convincing you that they are good decisions.