There are times when an employee asks a question or proposes an idea where an immediate answer isn’t possible. The supervisor may need to ponder the issue or may not be at liberty to disclose information.

This ambiguity causes the employee to “live in the gray” as some describe it.

Even if you’re unable to give the ultimate resolution, it helps immensely if you can give a timeline or parameters for when a reply may be forthcoming. “I’ll consider this during the next budget cycle;” “I’ll read it and get back to you at the end of the month,” or “Let me meet with Devon and we can talk in our next 1:1” are all responses that move it out of the immediate concern of the one asking.

Providing an answer that indicates a delay is acceptable, but saying nothing is not. It’s the non-answer that causes the disruption.

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