2.1 Communicating With Your Manager
If you plan to have a verbal conversation about one key project at your meeting with your manager and instead you discover he or she needs your help with something urgently, switch gears, confirm how they would like it delivered. Since managers wear a lot of hats, putting your key message up front will inclus, increase the likelihood of it being fully received. Use a five-step technique that starts with emotional preparation, allows you to explore solutions and focus on positive aspects.
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Do you have a boss? How effectively do you communicate with him or her? In today’s session, we’re going to discuss some ways to communicate effectively with your manager. Take just a moment to think about your manager through the lens of communication. Do you know how they like to communicate? What have you observed in their verbal and non-verbal communication? Do they communicate internally and externally? Are they engaged in virtual communication? Whether you know a little or a lot about how your manager likes to communicate there are some communication preferences that tend to run across most managers. Before we explore those, let’s start by understanding your manager’s role. Take a minute to consider your manager’s role, what is their official job? Is it fast-paced, or moderate? Are they in a lot of meetings, or do they spend more time with individuals, or with their teams? Do they have a small, or large team? Do they have multiple demands placed on them, or can they work based on their own priorities? I’ve asked you all these questions because understanding your manager’s role will help you communicate more effectively with him or her. I told you I’d share communication preferences that most managers tend to appreciate. There’s three of them. The first is the ability to flex and modify communication based on the situation or circumstance. When communicating with your manager, demonstrate your awareness of what he may be going through and adapt your approach. If you plan to have a verbal conversation about one key project at your meeting with your manager and instead you discover he or she needs your help with something urgently, switch gears, confirm how they would like it delivered. Or if you need to explain something complex verbally, but your manager’s stuck in a meeting and can only read an e-mail on her handheld device, offer to communicate in writing via e-mail until the opportunity to meet live presents itself. The second is proactive communication. Those who communicate with their managers proactively preempt concerns by actively communicating with their manager about status of work, possible issues and recommendations, whether or not they receive a response. I’m gonna repeat that last part. Repetition, a good technique. Whether or not they receive a response. I understand that it can be frustrating to not receive a response, however, this should not keep you from communicating. Proactive communication may also involve paying specific attention as to whether in person communication is the most appropriate approach. Depending on the situation, it’s not always the fastest approach. But consider that an e-mail sent virtually may not be seen until later in the day. Or viewed as important when an in-person dialogue may have increased the urgency in an earlier resolution. The third preference applies to verbal and written communication. And that is, state what you need up front. Since managers wear a lot of hats, putting your key message up front will inclus, increase the likelihood of it being fully received. Additional techniques for verbal communication can be found in your reading for this module. In terms of non-verbal communication the same techniques that we discussed in the module about communicating with your peers apply. However, one additional thing I suggest you work on recognizing is whether your manager’s non-verbal communication is indicative of his or her intended communication. Since managers often move quickly from meeting to meeting and project to project they may not be aware of how they’re displaying themselves non-verbally. Take a look at the article in your reading for some additional context. One of the most trying obstacles to overcome is when with your manager is delivering bad news. Have you ever been in this scenario? You just received some business information that your manager’s not aware of, and you know it will create tension when he or she learns about it. While your gut reaction may be to keep the information to yourself for a while, this can actually impact your credibility. And there is a way that you can deliver bad news to your boss in a way that preserves the integrity of everybody involved. Use a five-step technique that starts with emotional preparation, allows you to explore solutions and focus on positive aspects. You can engage in a respectful delivery of bad news which your manager is likely to appreciate over the long term. You’ll find additional details in your reading. One other obstacle that arises is persuading your manager. Have you ever needed your manager to see your perspective for just a moment because you knew if they heard you out they would concur with your recommendation? If you’re trying to persuade your manager using verbal communication, up the ante on your communication approach. Rather than them relying on just two-way communication, use stories and metaphors to reach him or her, and apply non-verbal communication in the form of visual or written points for additional support and emphasis. We’ll talk about this in our next module, communicating with executives. For now, wherever you are, enjoy the rest of your day or evening.
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