Today I’m going to talk about my strategies for managing your manager. So in the past, when I have had jobs, I’ve actually avoided trying to have one-on-one’s with my boss. I think it is my underlying issues with authority. But if this sounds like you, that’s actually a very bad think to do, because at the end of the day, your boss is potentially your biggest advocate in your career advancement at your company. So you need to make the most of that relationship.
No one cares more about your success than you. And so for my first tip, I’m going to tell you that you can use your one-on-one to really help magnify your job performance and get even better at what you do. Come prepared with a list of questions, and things that work well are ones about your past performance or projects. If you just finished a project, you might ask, “How could I have done this project better? In your eyes, what went well and what could have been improved?” Of course, be really open to the feedback. Don’t get defensive or explain it, but take notes and really listen to what he or she has to say.
Another way besides collecting feed back on recent projects is you can also ask your boss about other examples in the organization or even from their own past of what do you think makes a person very successful in this role. If you ask a lot of these questions, you can really get a handle of what you need to do better. Remember, no matter what they say, make sure you are just really open and thoughtful. I’ve mentioned taking notes before, but I wanted to emphasize that, because it actually shows that you’re really listening and taking what they say seriously.
The other major tip that I have for you, besides getting feedback to be better, is to actually try to build rapport with your manager. Find topics that you are both interested in that you can discuss, ideally ones related to your company and job. For example, directions on strategy, directions on different reorganizations, or tools that you’re using, maybe technology. Whatever it is, find a common ground and prepare some thoughts and questions about it. This can also give you a reason to reach out to your boss outside of your normal time, with perhaps articles or blog posts that might be interesting to both.
You can also, if you feel like you have exhausted a lot of topics or don’t have a lot of common ground, take the time to ask your boss questions about themselves. How did they get into their role today? What do they consider some of their greatest challenges? Where do they see their career leading? People like to talk about themselves. Taking an interest in your boss’ career and path can also give you insight into what it takes to be successful at your company.
Hopefully, this helps you to make the most of these dreaded meetings, and hopefully they won’t stay dreaded and you’ll actually find them productive and useful.
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