Your most important customer for career success is your manager. Sadly, not all managers are easy to work with. You can develop a sales strategy and make it easier to work with any manager. Your strategy can help guide you to your career success.
Learn your manager’s expectations and then deliver the way they want them for your career success.
Your job is to work the way your manager prefers, not the way you prefer. Some subordinates love a lot of detail so the reports they prepare are filled with pages of extensive detail. The only problem is they’re not providing what their manager wants, which is only an executive summary. The reverse holds true as well.
The same requirement holds for conversations. You might want to talk in great detail about an issue when your manager just wants the highlights with your conclusion and recommendations. How many times have you heard a long, elaborate explanation even with the speaker saying, “To make a long story short…,” and thought, “Too late for that! Get to the point already!” That’s what some managers think. You must know which type of manager you are working for so you adapt your working habits to them.
Analyze your manager face-to-face.
The way to learn your manager’s preference is in a face-to-face meeting where you can read nonverbal cues. It’s possible to gauge another person on the telephone, but you’ll get fewer clues to use. What you’re trying to gauge is your manager’s preference for speed, detail, risk and emotions. Some managers want decisions quickly and they also work fast. They prefer to work with others who can make faster decisions.
Here’s how to sport managers who require a lot of detail to make decisions. These people typically talk slower and speak with few facial expressions. Providing a lot of data with analysis is needed for someone who wants a lot of detail.
Managers who use facial expressions and talk faster don’t want a lot of detail. They also decide based on opinions, not fact. Be sure to tell them which credible influencers support your recommendations.
More assertive managers (talk fast, move fast, make decisions quickly) are risk takers. The slow talkers who move slower are more risk averse. Be sure to address the risk tolerance of your manager when you make your proposals.
Some managers are more controlled and don’t show their emotions. They prefer you don’t show them either. Look for more facial expressions to indicate who is comfortable with emotions. In all cases, keep your hands to yourself. Some people put their hands on others while they talk. Avoid this in all cases!
Shaking hands is the only acceptable use of your hands until you are very, very familiar with someone. Patting someone on the back or touching someone’s arm is not acceptable. It’s just a good idea to keep your hands to yourself in business today even without the #MeToo movement.
Be savvy with problems.
Yes, the risk averse manager probably doesn’t want you to solve a problem without his input. The risk-taking manager probably would approve your solution to a problem without his input. Be sure to come to him with your proposed solution, regardless of risk, if you want a manager’s input for a problem.
Your job is to demonstrate that you have a thoughtful solution ready and just want his input for your idea. You will bring more data to describe the solution for a risk averse manager. You’ll present the solution more simply to a risk-taking manager.
Trust yourself to recognize that every manager is different and you can develop a good working relationship with your manager. You will ensure your career success when you effectively manage up.