Speaking with your manager
We all have someone we are accountable to. When we step into a meeting with our manager, we have to think about how we can build credibility in their eyes.
According to a recent report, employees must build trust and credibility with their managers. It leads to happiness at work and a potentially higher salary.
If we want to be considered for promotions and opportunities, we must learn how to speak with our manager and build trust and credibility confidently.
Time Taker Or Time Giver
As we begin to think about building credibility with our managers, we have to consider what they are thinking. One of the things they most likely are thinking about is whether we are time givers or time takers. We should strive to be time givers.
Consider the following:
- Offer Solutions – When we speak to our manager, we need to ensure we offer solutions rather than only coming to them with problems. For example, if we are aware of a problem, we can do some due diligence before we meet with our manager. When we take the time to bring research and options, we will be seen as time givers rather than time takers.
- Be Proactive – If we want to be seen as leadership material to our manager, we need to be proactive in our communications. For example, if we see an issue with a project we are working on, we need to tell our manager immediately, rather than wait until it is too late. When we get in front of a problem, it gives us, and our manager time to react. We want to be seen as proactive rather than reactive.
- Be Honest – No one wants to feel like they don’t know something. However, if our manager tasks us with something we don’t know how to do and we aren’t honest, we will definitely be seen as time takers. For example, if we don’t know how to do a task, the best thing we can do is be honest. We can say we don’t know how to get it done, but would be willing to work with someone else. Or we can say we may need more time to complete the task as it will be our first attempt. Honesty will also build trust with our manager.
When our managers see us as time givers, they will be more likely to consider us for promotions and more significant projects at work.
Our managers may also wonder if what we have to say is accurate, and whether or not they should listen to what we say. We need to ensure our managers find us trustworthy.
Consider the following:
- Own Mistakes – When we make a mistake, we need to own it. For example, instead of making excuses as to why we made a mistake, we need to be forthright and admit the error. When we are upfront about our mistakes, we build trust with our managers.
- Follow Through – When we say we are going to do something, we need to ensure we do it. For example, if we tell our manager we can get the reports done by Friday, we need to have the reports done by Friday. When we follow through on a consistent basis, our manager will see us as reliable, which builds trust.
- Team Focused – We all have encountered people who are only in it for themselves. It can be hard to trust these people because we know their sole motivation is what is best for them. If we want to gain the trust of our manager, we need to be team focused, rather than self-focused. For example, when we are in a meeting, and our manager asks us who we think would be best to take the lead in a project, we need to ensure we are offering the best person for the job. We can say, “I would love to take the lead on this project, but I know Heidi has a skill set that is perfect for this.” When we do this, we show we are interested in leadership and mindful of what is best for the project and our team.
When our managers know we are trustworthy, they will be much more likely to listen to us, and consider us for other opportunities.
3. Tailor Communications
Another thing we want to consider when speaking with our managers is tailoring our communications to their style. We must remember it is about them and the things they care about.
Consider the following:
- Context – When we speak with our managers, we need to pay attention to whether they prefer quick and to-the-point communications, or if they prefer a lot of context from the beginning. Depending on what they like, we should try to mimic their preference in conversations and written communications. For example, if we know our manager prefers to be given all of the details, we need to ensure we include as much detail as possible when communicating. They will appreciate our communication and have fewer questions to follow up on.
- Critical Information – Our managers may not have a lot of time, so we must always lead with the most critical information. For example, if a client has just changed the deliverable date on a project our team is working on, this is critical information our manager needs to know. We don’t need to start with the nuances of why the deliverable date was changed; instead, we need to focus on the high-level critical information.
- Our Response – We want to be mindful of how we respond to communications with our managers. For example, if our manager asks us to do something and we don’t have time to do it, we need to think about how to communicate this without coming across as reactive. We can respond by telling our boss we appreciate the opportunity to work on this; however, we won’t be able to complete it by the deadline. We can ask if there is a deadline extension, or offer other colleagues whom we believe would be a great fit. We want to be seen as proactive in our responses.
Tailoring our communications to our manager will help our message come across the way we intended.
Learning how to communicate with our manager is a critical skill we must learn. Thinking about how we can build credibility will help us be seen as leaders, and open the door for more opportunities.
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