If your boss has different ideas to you, it can be difficult to get on their wavelength and identify how to add value to their management. How can you work with the boss and ensure you both are singing from the same songsheet?
Try these tips and see if they work for you:
* Agree on mutual expectations, responsibilities, standards of performance and success measurements. By doing this, you lay the foundation for all future dealings with them.
* Ask them to share their own goals and objectives. This way, you can offer help in them achieving what they want within the organisation, hence making you someone of necessity to them.
* Determine how you can help the most. Which areas that you have skills in would make their jobs easier?
* Deliver results in the way your manager wants them. Keep them informed at all times on how progress is going.
* Be dependable. If you make a promise, please keep it. Your boss doesn’t want to be made to look a fool if they’ve promised and you don’t deliver.
* Be open and receptive to feedback and advice. Don’t always look at defending yourself; it may be that they are right and you are wrong on this occasion.
* Anticipate and be proactive with problems on a timely basis. You don’t want it turning into a crisis before you let you manager know.
* Don’t waste your manager’s time. If it’s trivial, leave it till an appropriate time. If it’s important, let them know. But don’t become known for being a time-waster.
* Identify how your manager wants information given to them. Are they big-picture thinkers or do they sweat the small stuff? Identify this and give them information in the way they need it.
By understanding how your manager acts and reacts, you develop your relationship with them and identify the pressures they face. You need to become the kind of person your manager respects and can trust.
Is your boss sometimes wrong? Do you know it and they don’t? Does confronting your boss make you quiver with fear and make you want to ‘just get on with your job and not rock the boat’?
I know what you mean. You’re worried that you might be seen as negative, or the boss might trigger a defensive reaction and you’ll suffer in the short and long-term.
However, my discussions with top managers and senior directors tell me that they would welcome some new perspectives, and most tell me they don’t get nearly enough.
Remember, the boss isn’t some fabulous guru, gaining all their knowledge through osmosis and making sensational, well-informed decisions every moment of the day. They need information, feedback and advice just like anyone else. Knowing the methods of how to give that feedback will give you the confidence to approach them and drive change forward.
Here are my tips on how to do it:
Relate your feedback or new ideas back into your manager’s and company’s goals and objectives: For example “I think the customer care feedback system could be improved, as we are losing a lot of valuable information with the current one”
Bring up actionable suggestions rather than just objections: For example “What if I talk to other companies who use different systems and identify if any of them provide better results than what we get at the moment?”
Explain how your ideas help protect against possible risks or challenges: For example “A new system will help us gain better feedback and prevent us from losing potential customers. If we try a new, more robust way of getting information, we could improve our customer loyalty”
Offer more choices to your manager: For example “Either I could do the analysis myself, or we could get IT to support the new mechanism and find out if new systems could give us more valuable information”
Reflect their concerns in your conversation: For example “I know you’ll be concerned about the extra costs, so I’ve done some research on developing new systems and in the long-run it would be more cost-effective to maintain loyalty rather than marketing for new customers all the time”
Remember to always share the same goals as your manager…that way, you won’t get bogged down with methodologies or minutia, and disagreements will be less likely.
Identify your boss’s main motivations and present them in such a way as to encourage positive discussion and make your boss look good. That way, you’ll get a hearing ear and potential agreement to your ideas.