Career management requires both hard work and patience. However, the most important factors for being a “success” in your profession comes with the aptitude of understanding how to manage the one who manages you i.e., your manager. Even though you have no direct control over your manger, there is so much you can do to “help your manager help you.”
Tip 1: Look out for a supervisor who shares/matches your ambition
An opportunity often comes up when your supervisor gets promoted into a new job role. In other words, supervisors who take up challenging projects and spearhead initiatives are promoted in the organization more often and are greater mediums for a career drive, dependability, and increased accountability. Thus, it is important that you chose your conduit carefully or target one that suits with your pace.
Tip 2: Always be aware of what keeps your supervisor motivated
Know what drives your supervisor. Keep a close eye on how he/she likes to handle their project, how well does he/she handle their team and its members, how well does he/she work with project deadlines, clients and service level agreements. As wise men say, knowledge is golden and knowing the goals, objectives, and priorities of your supervisor would help you in correlating your work along with the supervisor who shares your ambition.
Tip 3: Blank comment box versus multiple choice
When we receive a survey form that has multiple choice questions along with an empty comment box beside it to offer our comments, most of us fear the comment box, as it requires more thinking and instead opt to choose from the multiple choice options mentioned. This type of situation holds true in your daily work life as well.
For e.g. Imagine you (assuming you work for the Marketing team) are given a new assignment, which requires regular teamwork from two other team members belonging to different teams such as Finance and Sales. Even after several attempts, you are unable to get proper information from these two colleagues of yours who belong to different teams. The deadline is nearing and you cannot let this go on forever, you wish to escalate the same to your supervisor in order to avoid missing the deadline, here you have two choices:
Scenario 1: You walk up to your supervisor and say, “I need your help, as I am having issues in getting proper information from the Finance and Sales team”.
Scenario 2: You walk up to your supervisor and say, “I am having issues in getting proper information from the Finance and Sales team. Kindly advise if I must approach the team heads for assistance or should I arrange a conference call with the two team members, so that you can discuss and understand what is the actual problem?”
Based on the above two scenarios, scenario two is much more practical and useful to you. This is because firstly, the second scenario gets you an instant answer from your supervisor. Choosing a comment box option here would surely give your supervisor the time to think and get back to you, but you also stand a high chance of him/her not getting back to you, as they have their own “to-do-list” of priorities to attend to. A multiple-choice question in such a scenario proves to be very valuable, as your supervisor understands that you have narrowed down the issue and need a mentor to guide you through.
Tip 4: Practice the habit of writing things down
Decisions relating to project work are always made in such a hurry and with minimum data. Your supervisor may have decided something during the start of the project, but at times, it is seen that when the project work faces a few glitches there are chances that your supervisor may blame you for your action (even though you had followed exactly what he/she had instructed at the start of the project). At this point, you are in a situation to blame your supervisor publically stating it was his/her idea to follow a course of action rather than taking a hit on yourself. This is not only a bad idea, but also a career-limiting move and should be avoided at all costs.
You can avoid such scenarios by simply taking notes of the discussion during the start of the project work and emailing the MOM (minutes of meeting) to your supervisor, asking him./her to let you know if you have covered all the topics correctly (especially the course of action to be implemented) and if there are any alterations required. A written document usually prompts for a few alterations and also gives the supervisor a second chance to think clearly if he/she needs to make any minor/major changes to the action plan. Thus, you can avoid the above-mentioned scenario in a professional manner.
Hence, to manage your manager effectively, simply keep in mind the above-discussed tips and start using them in your daily work life. As time goes by, you will soon start to see how effectively you have learned to manage your manager.