Being in healthcare management for almost two decades with multiple Fortune 500 companies, I learned a lot that I hope to share through a series of blogs called “Surviving the Grind.” This first blog focuses on something that many people can’t fathom. Despite, the apparent dominance of a boss over an employee, you have the potential power to effectively manage your boss. Here are three steps to help you along:
Become the Resident Expert.
Become knowledgeable about the operations of your company and your department. Being able to identify when a trend is shifting or an imminent change is coming, can put you in a position of power by being the first to address and act on it in an intelligent way. This will repeatedly put in you in a position of a de-facto quasi-leadership role. Is it better to be told to carry out a plan that you know isn’t going to work or is it better to have already been in a consulting role early on providing input into the decision- making process. Using this strategy will increase your boss’ reliance on your expertise. This inevitably can strengthen your relationship between you and your boss, as he or she trusts that you want to learn and do more than just what’s spelled out in your job description. Having an employee who doesn’t complain about every new duty or change in process is great. Having one that is knowledgeable and willing to spearhead an new process or initiative is priceless.
Demonstrate Consistent Timeliness.
This means meeting project deadlines, showing up to work, and to meetings on time. Being dependable puts your boss at ease. He or she knows that the department is covered because you’re scheduled. It’s known that you always attend meetings, so maybe you might be charged with attending in lieu of your boss, freeing them up to do other things. Again, information is power. Now your boss is dependent upon you for reports about their operations (they can’t be everywhere all the time). They love having time freed up because that helps them build more capacity.
If something is not working, let them know. Not being honest can create an environment of frustration and even hostility. If you provide misinformation or no information, who do you believe is going to be holding the short end of the stick at the end of the day? Have the vision to understand this dynamic and inform. Even better, offer a solution (or two). Do this a couple of times with positive results and your boss will become more confident in your abilities and give you a lot more freedom to make your own decisions and work more autonomously.
If you look at this list and feel like it will just create more work for you then you are fooling yourself, and might even be a bit short-sighted. Keep in mind that strong leaders are always looking to build their bench, meaning that they are constantly grooming and identifying potential replacements or an all-star team. These steps will give you the freedom to step in to one of these roles and ultimately manage yourself with more autonomy.
If you have any other tips that you have found helpful in giving you a greater sense of freedom at work, please be sure to share below.