You have been hired to fill a need in your organization. While some bosses know exactly what they want, many don’t, or at least have difficulty in expressing it. They have hired you to make their life easier and you must keep in mind that you are 100% responsible for creating and maintaining this relationship. Think of your boss as your best customer, and do what you need to do to make them happy and keep buying your brand.
The following tips will help you negotiate your relationship with your boss and make you an asset to the organization.
1. Get to Know Your Boss’ Communication Style
- How does your boss like to receive information? What format?
- Does she want to talk things over or does she want to think about things first?
- Does she like detail or just the big picture?
- What time of the day or week is best?
2. Understand Your Boss’ Priorities
- Read the strategic plan.
- Ask questions relating to key priorities.
- Clarify what he would like you to focus on.
- Get a clear understanding of what success looks like and timing.
3. Get Time On Your Boss’ Calendar
- Set regular meetings
- Keep your information brief
- Don’t stay away.
4. Keep your Boss Informed
- Set and stick to a regular status-reporting format.
- Organize your materials for speed or reading and understanding.
- An easy format to follow covers the following key points – what, so what, now what.
- It is better to communicate too much than too little.
5. Loyalty is Essential!
- Protect your boss.
- Tell your boss about anything that could have an impact on his position or projects.
- Keep confidences and don’t share private information – don’t be a gossip.
- If you are having a bad day – keep it to yourself or talk to a friend. Don’t talk to anyone in the office about it.
- Don’t say anything negative about your boss. It is disloyal – you are there because of him.
6. Solve Your Own Problems
- Keep minor issues and problems off you boss’ desk.
- Don’t look to your boss to solve your problems – make sure that you have thought through some potential solutions.
7. Don’t Wait – Take the Initiative
- Make decisions that are in your area of responsibility.
- Make things happen – set priorities and deadlines and meet them.
- Plan ahead and be prepared.
- Live the mantra – “First to See, First to Fix”
- Don’t delegate up.
- Make it easy for your boss to delegate to you by offering to help.
- A great rule of thumb is anything that takes longer than an hour to do is your responsibility.
- Your boss will make final decisions on key issues and it is up to you to do the research and make the recommendations of actions for them then to review.
8. When in Doubt, Ask
- Regularly confirm and clarify expectations.
- Realize that you don’t know all the issues and pressures your boss’ is facing and that things can change quite quickly.
9. Do Your Homework
- What opportunities do you see to make a difference?
- What insights do you have in the back of your mind that would be helpful to your organization and your boss?
- What can I do to make my boss’ life easier?
10. Documents – Make them Easy to Read
- Keep your materials short, sweet and to the point.
- Use appendices for details.
- Use executive summaries and bullet points.
- Number your pages and slides.
- You can attach a document to an e-mail but don’t expect your boss to take the time to print this out. A far better plan is to print it out and hand-deliver it.
- Attach a sticky note with a brief explanation of why he should look at this material and what you need/want him to do with it.
- Don’t assume that you boss has read everything or anything that you have sent – they are very busy people so don’t take this personally.
Questions to Ask That Will Make You a Star
- Would you like me to look after that for you?
- Is there anything else I can help you with?