||The Brazen Careerist
7 ways to impress your boss
You could save your company $10 million, but
if your boss doesn't know, it's like it never happened. So you need
to manage up -- systematically make sure your boss perceives that
you are doing a great job.
Here are seven ways to manage up:
Know your boss's priorities. If your
boss is a numbers person, quantify all your results. And know which
numbers matter most to him. All numbers people have their pet line
items. If your boss is a customer-is-first kind of guy, frame all
your results in terms of benefits to customers. Let's say, though,
that you are working on a project that is impossible to frame in
terms of the customer. Then ask yourself why you're working on it
for a customer-oriented boss. It probably isn't a high priority
for him, so it shouldn't be a high priority for you.
Say no. Say yes to the things that matter
most to your boss. Say no to everything else and your boss will
appreciate that you are focused on her needs. Remember that your
boss doesn't always know everything you've got on your plate. So
when she asks you to do something that you don't have time to do,
ask your boss about her priorities. Let her know that you want to
make sure you finish what is most important, and this will probably
mean saying no to the lesser projects.
Talk like your boss. If your boss likes
e-mail, use it. If your boss prefers voicemail then phone in your
updates. Convey information to your boss in the way she likes so
that she's more likely to retain it. Be aware of detail thresholds,
too. Some people like a lot and some people like none. A good way
to figure out what your boss wants is to watch how she communicates
with you. She's probably doing it the way she likes best.
Toot your own horn. Each time you do
something that impacts the company, let your boss know. Leave a
voicemail announcing a project went through. Send a congratulation
e-mail to your team and copy your boss, which not only draws attention
to your project success but also to your leadership skills. Whatever
the mechanism, you need to let your boss know each time you achieve
something she cares about.
Lunch with your boss. If all things are
equal, your boss will promote the person she likes the best. So
go out to lunch and talk about what interests her. Get her on your
side by asking her for advice on something about work. If you are
very different than your boss, work hard to find common ground in
your conversations. Everyone has common ground if you hunt hard
Seek new responsibilities. Find important
holes in your department before your boss notices them. Take responsibility
for filling those holes and your boss will appreciate not only your
foresight, but also your ability to do more than your job. (The
trick, of course, is to make sure you do not shirk your official
job duties while taking on more.)
Be curious. Remember to make time to
read and listen. Then ask questions when they are not expected.
You will make yourself more interesting to be around, and you will
elicit fresh ideas from everyone around you. Your boss will feel
like having you on the team improves everyone's work, even his own,
and that, after all, is your primary job in managing up.
-- Posted: Sept. 15, 2003