How to get on with your boss
A good boss makes his men realize they have more ability than they think they have so that they consistently do better work than they thought they could. Charles Erwin Wilson
Sometimes getting on with your manager or boss is the key to success – not just how well you do the job. This week, in celebration of Boss’s Day, Happiness Weekly provides some tips and tricks to get on with your manager and go just that tiny bit further.
Here are some tips for getting on with your manager:
1. Be accountable
Do what you say you will do, when you say you will. Particularly when you’re in an entry level position, if you can prove you are reliable from showing up on time, to sending an email you promised to send, to completing big projects before the deadline – your manager will notice and ultimately it will build trust.
2. Take responsibility
There’s rarely a moment in business where it’s more appropriate to give excuses than take responsibility for things not happening or not being delivered on time – even if it was completely out of your control! Instead of giving reasons, give solutions “I’m so sorry I’m late – please continue – I’ll catch up and get the notes for what I missed afterwards”. You can explain your reasons after the meeting if you’re asked. It may be worth preparing to disclose your solution to prevent it from happening again.
3. Learn to manage people
Everyone needs to be a bit hyper-sensitive of people’s feelings in the business world, part of this is making requests rather than complaining about things or people. The distinction is simple – a complaint is dead-end, where as a request looks for a positive solution. If you’re having issues with an entire team you could say “I would really like some help in how I could work better with *insert team or department here*”. Avoid creating waves, drama and gossip where ever you can.
4. Be solutions-focussed
Sometimes it’s easier to skip the request and go straight to the solution before talking to your manager. Take your proposed solution to your manager so when you explain your issue you can propose a solution. Your manager has more experience so may have an even better solution to suggest, but you can learn and grow from this. Oh yes, and whatever solution your manager wants you to take – it is always best you follow this, whether you agree or not. Always respect your manager’s requests.
5. Be self-motivated
You are responsible for knowing where you want to go and how to get there – be a go-getter! If you share this motivation with your manager, they will most likely support you to get there. Don’t wait for opportunities, ask for what you want. Apply for promotions. Follow your interests and speak to multiple mentors. Interested in becoming a manager? Ask if you can manage an intern or lead a team project. Anticipate your supervisor’s needs and fill them. Identify company problems and find solutions. Speak up in meetings when no one else will. Put in extra hours when no one else can.
6. Be the person you want in your team
Be a positive influence and motivate your team members. Show that you are capable of doing more. Your manager won’t want to be dealing with your interpersonal difficulties, try to stay focussed and make their life as easy as possible.
7. Be a professional friend
You can be a friend to someone and still be professional. Ask your manager how their weekend was, take interest in their interests and join in celebrating their triumphs with them. Put your manager’s needs at the centre of your universe. Ask what you can do to help.
8. Focus on your manager’s strengths
Every manager has good points and bad. When you’re thinking negatively about your manager, your focus will be on their worst traits, whereas if you compliment them and focus on the positive, provide positive recognition, your boss will feel valued and you’ll be more accepted.
9. Identify what they value
Take time to discover what your manager values in an employee. Understand their work style and try to fit in with it. Make sure your actions align with your manager’s business preferences – whether they like to receive email requests for meetings or if they would prefer you approach them, whether they like frequent communication or they prefer you to work autonomously. Identify what your manager likes or dislikes about the proposals you submit.
10. Show that you’re learning
Show that you’re not only learning, but that you’re learning from your manager and that you want to learn. Regularly ask for feedback and be receptive to it. Demonstrate that you have taken any criticism on board and you are taking steps to adjust to it. Listen more than you speak and develop an effective relationship as best you can.
11. Value your boss’s time
When you schedule a meeting, take any clarifying questions you may have with you – regarding any aspect of your work. If you don’t have any, don’t take up more time than necessary. Shout your manager an occasional coffee for the meeting. Making the most of your meetings enables your manager to accomplish work without regular interruptions.
12. Be forward thinking
If one of your proposals isn’t accepted, realise it is because your manager is more aware of resources, time, goals and vision for the organisation. Don’t take it personally and avoid giving an emotional reaction.
What do you do to get on well with your boss?