We’ve all experienced those days when we just don’t want to work and can think of a million other things that we’d rather be doing. Please, no more meetings! No more boring conference calls! No more spreadsheets and flow chart presentations! We just want to go home, get back into bed, and take a nap with our dog. However, there are bills to pay and careers to make so let’s just do our best to make it through the day. Related: 10 Habits To Energize Your Workday On those (rare) occasions that you just need to power through the rest of the workday when you don’t really feel like it, here are a few suggestions:
Congratulations! You got the interview for your dream job. You’ve researched and prepared and feel ready to meet the hiring manager, discuss your resume, and learn more about the position. Remember, you need to ask just as many questions to the interviewer about the role, team, company, and organizational structure in order to have the best understanding of the opportunity. And more importantly, you can determine if the organization, office environment, and company culture are the right fit for you just by walking through the door and looking out for these four warning signs during the interview process: Related: 6 Warning Signs That You’re In The Wrong Job
Everyday we need to make multiple decisions – and some are more important than others. Coffee or tea? Stay on the road or take the next exit? Wear the black boots or red heels? Respond to an email now or wait until later? Should we make chicken or fish for dinner? Most likely none of these decisions will have earth-shattering consequences. Related: 15 Questions To Ask Before Making A Career Change However, there are plenty of times when we need make a more meaningful and thoughtful decision about something especially complex and potentially life changing. Do I apply for the promotion or leave my job? Go to graduate school or take a sabbatical? Sell my business or start a new one? Buy a house or move to a new city? Answer yes or walk away forever? In order to figure out what to do, there are many decision-making models, processes and risk/impact matrices available to help make both personal and professional decisions. Most people want to look at every angle of the situation, remove any emotional factors, and keep their decision as objective as possible. For example, a common approach is to use a Rational Decision-Making Model. This model presupposes that you are able to determine all of the options and future consequences of each alternative in order make your “one right decision.” Of course, many people can take this rational approach and then ultimately rely on their intuition or gut to make their decision.
Don’t Kiss Up. Manage Up!“Managing up” is an approach that anyone can use to build and maintain a positive working relationship with his or her boss. A true intention to promote a cooperative and productive relationship will help you deliver the best possible results for you, your boss and your organization. Whether this is your first or tenth job, regardless of your level or title, learning how to best communicate with your supervisor and quickly understanding his or her agenda is crucial for taking ownership of your career and setting yourself up for long-term success. Related: 3 Rules To Managing Up Rosanne Badowski, co-author of "Managing Up: How to Forge an Effective Relationship With Those Above You” was Jack Welch’s executive assistant at General Electric Co. for 13 years. "Doing what you can to make your manager's job easier will not only help them do their job, but you will be considered a valuable asset to your manager and to your organization," she says. "You want to be described as indispensable."
Self-ReflectionUnderstanding your work style, strengths, areas for development, and even your personality type are good ways to determine how you may need to adjust to your boss’s work style. We know that people may work differently from each other, and some people are more difficult to work with than others. Remember, you encompass 50% of the relationship with your supervisor. Pay attention. Know what you don’t know. Your strength may help compensate for your boss’s weakness. For example, if your boss is not a planner, offer to create and send out the monthly team meeting agenda (which in turn will help meet everyone’s needs), or if your boss is more strategic and less technical, offer to create the slides for the next Board presentation. The more you can dependably jump in when needed, follow through on your commitments, maintain a good attitude despite the situation, present quality work, and adjust your work style to meet your boss’s needs, the more quickly you will be managing up!
Ask Questions. Never Assume.If you have not done so already (and especially if you are just beginning to work for someone new), it’s crucial to schedule a meeting with your supervisor and set expectations, goals, and priorities. Ask questions to understand your boss’s viewpoint and know what defines success for your boss, you, your team, and the organization. Selectively use your boss’s time (and yours!) for the necessary only. Here are a few helpful questions to ask:
- What are your expectations and main goals?
- What role do you envision me playing to help us reach these goals?
- How do you prefer to stay informed of progress and how often do you want updates?
Manage Your Personal BrandManaging your personal brand will also help you manage up. Follow the company’s policies and procedures, stay out of office politics and avoid gossip with co-workers. If you make a mistake or miss a deadline, acknowledge the situation and take ownership of it immediately. Do not place blame on others or make excuses. However, it is critical to immediately inform your boss not just about the issue at hand, but also your response to it. Clearly and succinctly outline the situation, potential impacts, and recommended solution. Address it head on and resolve to learn from it. Keeping your boss informed on progress, deadlines, and challenges will help prevent unwelcome surprises. Be proactive, anticipate issues, and manage risks to avoid “fires.” Ask for feedback and graciously accept it all - good and bad. This will also help you learn and progress in your career. In summary, in order to appropriately manage up, you need to:
- Understand your own work style.
- Learn your boss’s preferences by asking questions and observing his or her behaviors so you can adjust as needed.
- Manage your personal brand by building credibility through your actions.