Keeping the Boss Happy without Going Insane Yourself!
LTAW February Theme is Loving My Work: We get up every morning to another day on the job. Do you jump out of bed saying YES, I can’t wait to get there or do you roll over, turn off the alarm for the third time and wish it was Saturday already. “I love my job, I hate, my job, I love my Job, I hate my job.” Inasmuch as February is the month of Love we are focusing on Getting to LOVE as it relates to your job.
As we all know people are different, unique and present themselves with different personalities, lifestyles, likes and dislikes, etc. There are those people with whom we immediately click. We seem to know what they are thinking and you often find yourself able to finish the other’s sentence.
In the workplace when you click with your boss it is a beautiful thing. After all, many of us spend more time with the boss than we do with our own families. In fact, Americans work longer hours than most other industrialized countries. According to the ILO, “Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers.” So you likely spend a good deal of your waking existence with your boss, doing something for your boss, and/ or thinking about the things you should be doing for your boss.
So how do you develop an effective working relationship with your boss, one that is built on mutual respect, establishes boundaries and achieves the business objectives?
- Really get to know each other. In Monday’s post, I recommended that you acknowledge your differences and talk about them. In Western cultures we often focus more on the task than the relationship. It is important to spend time getting to know each other on a more personal basis early on in the relationship. I know some people are more “private” so you can set boundaries here too. Perhaps you talk about your hobbies and interests, how you work best (e.g. are you naturally a morning person or definitely not!)
- Know yourself. What are your hot buttons? Your boundaries? Do you get annoyed because your boss expects you to work 12 hours a day and your limit is 10. Do you think your boss will feel that you are not dedicated if you do not put in all of the extra hours he/she expects? How can you come to a common ground? Set goals. Let your boss know what you will complete by when and then stick to it. Be someone who can be depended on to meet deadlines.
- Do not let things that bother you fester. Keep the lines of communication open. If something happens that bothers you, let your boss know about it immediately in an objective, rational way. If you are upset, you should probably sleep on it over night and address the issue the next day after you have had time to think about why the situation caused that reaction in the first place (put the flashlight on yourself first). When you talk to your boss, use “I” language. Speak to the behavior, how it made you feel and the impact. For example, “When I heard that the deadline had been moved up (behavior) without any input from the team, I was frustrated (feeling) because with the other projects we have on our plate, I knew that it would be impossible to produce quality work by that date (impact).” “You” language will put others on the defense. “You changed the due date without any input from the team” will immediately put the boss in a defensive position which you should always avoid.
- Come with a solution to problems. Do not expect your boss to “fix” every situation. Come prepared to offer options. In the case of the changed deadline, suggest that other project deadlines shift to meet the new requirements for the project at hand and be prepared to offer your rationale for how the shifts will still allow your team to meet its overall objectives.
Lovin’ my work!