Every new boss will have a different style than the last. Though the general business objectives may remain the same, your new boss’s strengths, management style, personality and pain points are likely to be different. The greatest business managers in history had vastly diverse personalities and widely different styles. Witness the number of books on “effective management” philosophies that have been written in recent decades. Understanding the management style and personality of your boss will enhance your working relationship and minimize stress.
Embrace the career concept known as “managing up”. While some may consider this to be the art of political maneuvering, it is a sound strategy for building a relationship with your supervisor that allows for effective and precise communication. This valuable skill sensitizes you to what makes your boss tick, the best ways to break good and bad news and earn their respect.
1. What Makes your Boss Tick?
Understanding your new manager may take a while. At every opportunity, listen carefully for clues to particular interests or motivations, pet peeves, patience level and flexibility. Having a firm understanding of your boss on a professional level will make preparing your communication far easier.
Keep in mind that an effective manager is continually assessing you to know what your motivations are so that she can get the best from your efforts. If she perceives that you understand where she's coming from, she'll welcome you to her team and keep you in the loop.
2. What is the Best Way to Communicate Not-So-Good News?
Does your boss prefer to have the headline first and then the back story? Or does she want to follow the sequence of events that have led to the outcome? Suppose a project has hit a snag and appears to be falling behind or is destined for a shipwreck.
Good news in any form is always welcome. But how does your boss handle bad news?
Here's how you can figure out your boss's preference for receiving bad news. Set aside a time to openly discuss her preferred method and timing of updates. Does she prefer concise updates, carefully developed to answer potential questions? Or does she want an in-depth and open conversation, probing every element of the issue? In either case, be prepared to answer difficult questions.
Be concise and accurate. Don't overlook surprises. Pointing fingers to blame others is always a bad move. Exaggerating or eliminating potentially negative information is easily construed to be dishonest behaviors. Don't damage your relationship with your boss by failing to deliver bad news in a straight forward, honest fashion.
3. How Can you Earn your Boss’s Respect?
If you are starting a new job or faced with a new boss, determine your new manager’s expectations early on. This is vital to the future of your working relationship. Recognize that officers and department heads have a broader range of responsibilities than you, so clarifying their expectations is an important first step. Don't hesitate to get clarification. Your boss wants to move on to other matters with the full confidence that your responsibilities are under control.
Internalizing your boss’s expectations and communicating in a way that enhances your relationship is important. Relaying the right information at the right time and in the right manner creates a boost to your career success.
Successful employees embrace certain fundamental qualities to maintain positive relationships with their bosses. Honesty, loyalty, reliability, trustworthiness, initiative and a serious approach to the job at hand are essential. Disagreement, if presented in privacy and tactfully, can actually be positive. Your boss will appreciate a different perspective that he may not have considered.
Always be respectful, communicate positively and do it in a timely manner. If you do your relationship with your boss should should flourish.
How have you gotten to know your boss and their preferred work style? Share your thoughts in the comments below!