Be pro active towards your manager, ask to discuss topics with them, ask to be evaluated and ask to reflect together. But do not bug them down; remember you need to produce results as well. Volunteer if tasks are given, especially if it is in a topic you love.
I was a manager before I incorporated my consulting practice. Now I work with managers around the globe to show them ways to be even more effective.
One thing remains consistent in a world filled with changes: Managers want employees who are involved. Why? It makes their job easier and it makes the department more effective.
Here is what I mean:
When you simply wait for direction, the manager has to work harder to do his or her job. Without involvement from you, (s)he is always wondering what you are doing, how things are going, and whether or not it is time to follow up or give you a new task or goal.
“But that’s the managers job!” you say. “The manager is getting paid to do that. (S)he should take time to find me and follow up with me.”
The manager’s job is to help you manage your performance. But when you sit back and wait, you force your manager to use more mental energy to figure out what to do. Sooner or later, your manager will wonder if you are genuinely involved in the business; or, are you just doing the minimal amount to get paid? That’s never a good way to be perceived!
Your Manager Has A Manager, Too
Everyone is an employee.
Everyone is accountable to someone, regardless of position in the organization.
While your manager is following up on your goals, tasks, and performance, (s)he is also concerned about satisfying the needs of the manager above. (When I was a middle manager, I sometimes felt like a piece of meat in a sandwich. There was a slice of bread below, a slice of bread above, but someone was always taking a bite from both ends in order to get to the meat–me!:-)
Your manager often feels the same way. Ask, and you will find out that it’s true.
How to Be Positively Involved
1. Don’t wait: initiate.
When you have information that is important to your manager, initiate a conversation. Good decisions require accurate, timely data. Managers want to know what ‘s happening as quickly as possible.
2. When information is negative, it is still important. Tell it, don’t hide it.
We have all seen colleagues who only want to give positive information. But negative data about the progress of a project can be the starting point for finding the cause and correcting it. Share all information.
Your manager doesn’t want to be surprised by hearing about it from his or her boss.
3. When you bring a problem, also bring suggested solutions.
Problems are easy to uncover. Solutions make you a star.
Think of two or three possible solutions whenever you present a problem to your manager. Managers don’t like to be the “dumping ground” for problems. You don’t have to solve things completely, but your manager will appreciate that you have helped by offering some potential ways out of the situation. And you will become known as a “solution” person instead of a “problem” person.
4. Ask your manager how you can be helpful.
And everyone likes to have someone offer help. Simply check in periodically and ask, “Is there some way I can be helpful today?”
Naturally, you have your normal tasks and goals. But just asking the question can help your manager feel more support.
These are four things that immediately come to my mind when I think of Positive Involvement.
What other helpful tips do you have?
Steve Roesler is the CEO of Roesler Consulting Group and has been an organizational consultant since 1983. His clients have included companies such as American Express, AT&T, Pfizer, Specialty Minerals Europe, and Saudia Airlines. You can read Steve’s thoughts on workplace issues, talent, and leadership at his award-winning blog: www.allthingsworkplace.com
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