In the last challenge, I talked about awakening the leader within. And, I also said that a leader is a great influencer.
The first influence you need to have, to get ahead in your career, is on your boss. So, today, I challenge you to learn the strategies to influence your boss.
Here are 7 sure-fire but simple ways to influence your boss –
#1 Talk about the result
We have grown up hearing that the journey is as important as the destination and we must enjoy the journey. Well, this may hold true in all other things you do, but may not be in the work scenario. What your boss is more concerned about is the result and not the amount of effort you have put in. So come straight to the point.
Say–We have been able to improve productivity by 10% and here’s how…
Instead of–We did so and so, the entire team worked 12 hours a day. It wasn’t easy, a lot of effort had to be put in, but despite all the odds, we could increase the productivity!
The former allows your manager to ask–how did that happen and eventually have a fruitful conversation. The latter is like beating around the bush. And that is not appreciated by the bosses.
#2 Learn to quantify and visualize
Numbers speak volumes as compared to words.
See my detailed post on 3 sure-fire ways to skyrocket your career by talking about the impact you create to learn how to quantify and visualize.
#3 Talk regularly
Don’t make your boss have to ask you for updates/status. Schedule a time to talk to him/her regularly–once in 7 – 10 days is good.
In this meeting, summarize the progress so far. Quantify and focus on the results as described above. Also, talk about the plans to complete the rest of the project on time. If there are issues flag them in advance. If you need any support–ask for it in advance.
All of this will put your boss at ease. It will give him/her the confidence that you can handle it on your own and ready for taking the next level of responsibility.
#4 Get to know the expectations
There are parameters on which you are being tested regularly. Are you aware of them? Well, don’t make the mistake of confusing them with your formal KRAs (key result areas). Merely ensuring the KRAs are met won’t guarantee a promotion. There is more to it. And that is usually unspoken during the appraisal discussion or at the time of setting the KRAs.
Get to know what are the boss’ expectations from you. What is it you need to do to go beyond the regular KRAs to get promoted?
In the conversations you have with your boss, state your expectations and get to know the expectations s/he has to get those fulfilled.
#5 Think ahead
Working with your boss is like playing chess–you need to think of them a few steps well in advance. So at work, you need to develop a foresight to know the problems that might occur. Once you are aware of them, think of the solutions to avoid them.
Be proactive. Don’t just go to your boss with a set of problems, go with the solutions instead.
But also remember, just because you have come up with the solution it will not be the only solution. Be open to feedback and work together with your boss to come up with the best one.
#6 Make your boss look good
You are the one who can make your boss look good. In her book, Work 101: Learning the Ropes of the Workplace Without Hanging Yourself, Elizabeth Freedman opines, “if you don’t look good, your boss doesn’t look good.”
When you get to know your boss’ expectations from you, do what it takes to improve. Put your best foot forward to make yourself look good.
Remember, your boss is not judged by his work, but the work that you do. If you are not good, your boss is not good either.
#7 Last but not least, ask for help
I have talked about the Benjamin Franklin effect earlier. When someone asks you for help and you offer that help; you convince yourself that you helped the person because you like the person. This applies to your boss too.
So go ahead, ask for help.
Communicating with your boss in the language is the key to influence him/her. By taking this challenge, you will learn how to influence your boss and get on the path of grand career breakthroughs.