Every boss is different, and every worker has their individual quirks. But while it may be impossible to please everyone, Liz Rodbell, president of Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay, says her biggest employee pet peeves revolve around one common theme: lack of clear communication.
In a recent interview with the New York Times’ Adam Bryant, she explains two common office missteps that drive her nuts. The good news? They’re both ridiculously easy to fix.
1. Not asking necessary questions
Meetings are meetings for a reason, and to make them productive, everybody’s got to be on the same page. “They’re very purposeful and we have agendas,” Rodbell says. “If somebody isn’t listening and following the trail of where we are in conversation, I get annoyed.”
And by the same token, she expects her team to speak up if they have questions. “If there’s something they don’t understand, they should ask about it,” she tells Bryant — and that can mean putting ego aside.
“[S]ometimes new executives want to prove themselves a bit.” Rodbell’s sympathetic to that, but ultimately, she says, it’s a counterproductive impulse. “You’re hired,” she says. “You’re in. So you don’t have to do that.”
2. Not responding promptly to email
You don’t have to have the answer to her question, but you do have to respond with some kind of acknowledgment fast. “If I don’t even get an ‘I’ll get back to you’ or a ‘Got it’ or something, I’m unsure if the message got through,” she says. “So I do expect follow-up. I’m very busy and I want to be connected to make sure that we keep moving.”
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