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Decoding Executives

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Decoding Executives

What they say, what they mean and what you should do

Susan Kushnir,

15 min read
12 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Learn to figure out how the executives in your company think and how best to deal with them.

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Employees sometimes regard the executives in their firms as unknowable and mysterious. Many staffers even see their top bosses as dangerous – particularly to the unlucky souls who inadvertently run afoul of them. The result is that many workers can’t or don’t try to communicate with their higher-ups. In this helpful text, leadership experts Susan Kushnir and Barbara Sucoff teach employees how to decode executives and deal with them constructively.


Most people don’t understand their higher-ups because they don’t speak “executive.” 

Communicating with executives can be a huge challenge for employees. For lower-level staff members, trying to figure out the true meaning of many of the things executives say to one another can seem like the equivalent of interpreting a foreign language. Executives tend to speak a special language designed to exclude those not privy to their intentions or meanings. They use acronyms that don’t signify anything to non-insiders. They talk in hushed tones about unknown special projects or refer to concepts, issues and ideas that rank-and-file employees haven’t encountered. 

Lower-level employees and managers may find all this mystery tiresome or even dangerous. And, in many ways, they’re right: The inability to communicate effectively with your company’s executives, particularly your ultimate boss, is a problem. Even executives who aren’t in your direct reporting line may have a negative effect on your projects and your career prospects.

Executives don’t need to...

About the Authors

Susan Kushnir has held senior leadership positions at many financial service organizations and Girl Scouts of the USA. Barbara Sucoff has trained thousands of executives.

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