During my career, I have had more bosses than I can remember. But at every company, and in each role I have played, I have endeavored to ensure I add value to each relationship.
A good relationship with our boss is critical to our success at work. Not only does it make our jobs easier (and theirs), but it can contribute to helping us enhance our careers. Good relationships increase trust and respect. That can lead to more interesting work, more challenging work, and openness on difficult issues. So how can we do this without seemingly brown-nosing, creeping or being sycophantic? Here are 7 ways to satisfy your boss.
1. Take the Initiative
We don’t have to wait for the boss to tell us what to do. We can make his or her job easier and impress them by taking the initiative to do the things we are sure need to be done, without being asked. We could also suggest some additional projects we could work on that will demonstrate forward planning.
2. Suggest Solutions
There are two things bosses don’t like – surprises and problems. So don’t bring them. I learned this lesson with one boss who, after I had brought him a series of problems, said to me, “Look, don’t stand there and tell me how messed up everything is, I want to hear how you think we should fix it.” So after that, I would raise the problem and then outline how I had fixed it, or if I needed their approval, how I would recommend it got fixed. They don’t like surprises because they expect problems to be fixed as they arise. So we need to focus on solutions, not problems.
3. Optimize Communication
Ensuring we keep the boss up to date is another way of avoiding surprises. Find out how they like to get information and can act upon it. Is it e-mail, voice mail, daily or weekly face-to-face meetings, or written reports? Do they like headlines with back-up data, or do they like a complete run down? Do they like formalized meetings made by appointment or do they have an open-door policy where you can just drop in?
4. Learn About Their Job
Finding out more about the boss’s role will help us understand the pressure points they face, what decisions they need to make, and what their expectations are. This will help us set our priorities so we can link to what is important for them.
5. Meet Deadlines
Meeting deadlines will ensure our bosses can meet their deadlines and lessen their stress.
It also proves we listen and understand that the deadlines are important and that we take them seriously.
6. Manage Time
Be aware of their schedule and know the ideal times to talk with them. Is the boss an early morning person, and what does that mean? Can you catch him or her before the rest of the office comes in, or is that a time they treasure to get a kick start? Do they stay late, and that is more ideal?
Don’t waste their time. It’s as precious as yours and needs to be treated as such.
Be efficient and organized in meetings with them by being prepared.
7. Be Social
The key to understanding someone is knowing what their values are. These start in their personal life. Knowing about the family, hobbies, favorite sports and passions tells us a lot about a person. It’s much more than you can learn 8 hours a day in the office.
I’m not suggesting we camp out at their homes; but coffee breaks, lunches, and traveling together with well-chosen questions can reveal a lot.
A good relationship between managers and colleagues is crucial to career success and feeling good about your job. When managers and colleagues are able to develop relationships based on trust and respect, productivity and morale are almost certain to improve.
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