I was recently having a great conversation with one of my Emerging Leader clients, and a young woman who is a manager for the first time herself. During our chat, she informed me that she had a new manager and wanted me to help her identify some areas of focus for getting off to a great start with her new manager. I congratulated her on having the presence of mind to think forward and develop a plan for success. Here are the five keys we decided upon, I hope you find them helpful.
Keep Things Simple: Recognize first and foremost that your boss is busy and has enough challenges already without you needlessly bringing more. Cover your end, follow-up on your responsibilities and avoid anything escalating to her. Give your boss significant updates, long on context and short on details (don’t drag her into every detail of what you have going on, just the high points!). Make sure this is designed to help her determine the current state of your projects and challenges, what you have planned for next steps to move forward, and enough context to allow her to feel confident in your ultimate success.
Be Clear About Expectations: Make it your mission in life to understand precisely what your boss expects. If he doesn’t tell you what success looks like on his own, take the initiative to ask him how you’ll know you are becoming a top performer and delivering the right results. Too many young managers are tempted to act like they don’t need feedback and direction and think that asking for feedback or direction is a sign of weakness. That is a laughable misapprehension. Asking your boss for feedback and direction is a wise move based on a foundation of vulnerability and confidence. Ask your boss how you’re doing along the way. I recommend having a performance initially with your boss at least monthly early in your career, and gradually, you can back down to once a quarter when you have established a rhythm working together.
It’s All About The Boss: Be certain that you are demonstrating your loyalty to your boss and invest in watching your boss’s back. Don’t contradict or criticize her decisions or direction, publicly or privately. Don’t participate in criticism of her leadership, ever. Any good boss needs full support from their team to be at their best, give your boss your full support and ensure that you prevent any surprises. Keep the boss informed enough and spend time making her look good!
Figure Out How You Can Help: Study your boss’s behavior style, communication method preferences, decision-making system, and key objectives. Ensure that your goals align tightly with your boss’s goals. Be certain that your behavior reflects positively on your boss, and align your actions with how he likes to see things done, helping him to drive positive forward progress and consistent achievement of business results.
Put Your Boss in a Favorable Light: Follow the chain of command and never go over your boss’s head, or provide any unintended optical challenges for her. Make sure that it’s sufficiently clear to everyone that you are supportive of your boss and work together effectively. Remain aligned with your boss and make her look strong and successful in her leadership role. Be generous in your praise of a good leader, and give your boss the credit early and often, without becoming a spin-doctor or cheerleader. It should be abundantly clear to everyone that you like working with and remain highly supportive of your great boss.
What do you think of the list of 5 Keys we came up with? Do you have any keys that we missed? Do you feel that we can ensure results for our Emerging Leader with this list? Let me know what you think and add a comment to this blog article. We’ll send you a section from our upcoming book on Business Best Practices for your time and trouble.
Michael is an award winning business advisor and executive coach located in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. Michael coaches Executives from all over the world to ambitious results from his offices in Prior Lake, Minnesota. If you’d like to inquire about Michael speaking at your next organizational meeting on topics from Leadership to Team Building to Building Enduring Corporate Culture, send your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.