1. Find out what they value
Multiple bosses are a fact of contemporary corporate life for many. This hydra doesn’t respond well to a one-size-fits-all approach. Notice what they value, and if you’re not sure, just ask. Then deliver what they value. See this challenge positively: rather than having to ‘pander’ to different preferences, you will all benefit from learning to adapt to them. Developing this skill will stand you in good stead when dealing with colleagues now and with those you’ll manage in the future.
2. Offer options and solutions
Don’t just go to your boss waving a ‘help me’ distress flare when you’re stuck. Stop and think: what are the options? What are the pros and cons of each? Which do you recommend? Then you can have a grown-up conversation with your boss, who will be more willing to help when they see you’ve made an effort.
3. Suggest improvements
Best done once you’ve got to know the systems and processes. Notice the tasks that take too long, or the processes that seem too long-winded. How can they be simplified and systematised? For example, for each task you tackle for the first time, create a checklist of the steps. Review and refine it when you’ve finished the job, then show your boss how it will benefit the team.
4. Spot what they’re not good at – and take those tasks off them
It may be the numbers, or following up with key people, or broadcasting the team’s achievements. There’s something your boss isn’t the best at and you can do better.
5. Get to the point
We’re all busy and yet many of us are wafflers (myself included – I’m a ‘recovering waffler’; one day at a time). Instead of thinking out loud on your boss’s time, think in terms of the headline first, then the article. What needs to happen? What do they need to be aware of? Get to your point right away and have your back up ready for any questions.
Dawn is the author of ‘How to be Zoomly at work’, available on Amazon.