Your relationship with your immediate boss is one of the most important professional relationships you’ll have.
Over the course of your career you’ll pick up loads of lessons from the different people you’ll report to – yes, even when you make CEO. Your manager has a huge impact on how you feel – about yourself, your job, and of course about them – when you head for home at the end of your working day. Your boss can help you get promoted – or fired. So it’s worth putting some effort into building the relationship.
You will need to be flexible as no two bosses are identical, and it’s up to you to adapt to their different ways of doing things ‘round here’ (which is office speak for ‘my way’). If you have similar working styles, no problem. It can get a bit trickier if you’ve got very different ways of operating. You need to figure out what makes your boss tick, and respond accordingly.
- Are they a ‘big picture’ person? If so, ditch the preamble – they’ll lose patience. Give them the top line and two or three punchy points to back it up. Be ready for questions about next steps, not just the immediate future, but beyond.
- Do they make decisions based on logic? Then they’ll need to see sound thinking: the logical, sequential steps to take. They’ll want to hear about costs and benefits.
- What’s their approach to deadlines? Order and organised? Or random and chaotic? If the latter, build in more time to plan and be sure to keep people informed of last-minute changes.
- What’s their preferred medium for communicating? Always email? Face to face? Via chat? Or social media? Find out – ask if you really can’t figure it out – and adapt to their preferences whenever practicable.
- Are they keen on process and procedure? Whatever you do, don’t miss a step out. Create a checklist (if there isn’t one already) and review it with them, as you ‘want to make sure you’re following the right process’ and get their input. Ask how often they want it updated and circulated.
- Are you dealing with a people person? They will most likely want to check plans and decisions for fairness and their impact on people.
- Do they like to be in control? Then rather than going to them with your one-and-only, perfect-fit solution, come up with at least two options from which they can choose.
You may find this blog post useful: Help! I’ve just had a really bad appraisal – what should I do?.
Image ‘The youngest worker’ by Mediaphotos / Deposit Photos
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