September 14, 2009

My Manager Never...

We've all had great managers and not so great managers. Even if we've always had a great manager, I'm sure you've heard these types of statements from others:

"My manager never communicates"

"My manager never recognizes me"

"My manager is never fair"

If you are not getting the response from your manager that you would like, then step back and take a fresh look at what and how you are communicating. After all, what do you think is easier, changing someone else or changing yourself? Most people will answer, changing themselves. Even if you do not have the most communicative manager, there are positive actions you can take to feel more satisfaction in your position. What do you think is easier, changing someone else or changing yourself? Most people will answer, changing you. Here are a few change ideas that will improve the way you communicate with your manager:

· Schedule an Expectations Meeting – The purpose of this meeting is find out what your manager expects. During this meeting you can ask: 1) What your manager sees as the key challenges for you and your department, 2) How your performance and the performance of your team will be measured, and 3) The communication preferences of your manager (how often, what form email, in person etc.)

· Frame Communication in WIIFM – WIIFM stands for "What is In It For Me". In this case the WIIFM is from your manager's perspective. You learned about your manager's expectation during your meeting, now you can frame your communication based on what you learned. High level executives are usually concerned about 1) the impact on the results of the organization, 2) money, either making it or saving it, and 3) reputation of the company in the marketplace.

· Be Prepared, Confident and To the Point - Most executives are busy people and prefer short, to the point communication. Your discussions should reflect that you have considered the topic from a strategic point of view. If they do want details, it is important that you can answer their questions confidently. Typical key questions they will ask are: "what are the costs, what is the projected return-on-investment, and what controls are in place to track the project or initiative?" Voice tone and facial expression should express confidence and competence with good eye contact. Be confident enough to take a stand and make a considered recommendation.

By changing your communication methods, you may change your manager's communication. He/she will know your interactions will be worth the time because you are thinking in ways that will benefit for organization and use your time and his/hers wisely. You will then gain the time and attention you need to feel successful in your job.

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