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Criticism Listening Feedback

My manager likes to show off his vocabulary, but he tends to use words that are slightly wrong. For example, he will talk about an abysmal failure, but he will say "abusmal" failure. He does this with many words, and all of us are reluctant to say anything since he is our boss. What can we say to him?

Although you believe that your manager's word usage is an abysmal failure, there may be other explanations behind this, not the least of which can be a hearing problem. You and your fellow employees are correct in showing restraint on this matter, since it can be difficult and even risky to criticize one's manager, especially in an area in which the manager may take considerable pride.

If your manager's words are not interfering with your performance, productivity, or job satisfaction, you might want to ask yourselves if his vocabulary is worth mentioning at all. However, if his words are creating confusion for you, then you can use your reaction as a pathway to approach him.

The next time you hear one of these expressions, do not simply approach him and say, "That's not a real word." Rather, tell him that you do not exactly follow what he is saying. He is likely to repeat himself, and then you can say something like, "Oh÷Žabysmal.' I get what you are saying." This can lead to a brief and positive exchange about this word, and then you and the discussion can get back to business.

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