- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On May 1, 2015
- Career management
No matter what kind of position you have, there’s more to your job than what you put on your resume. Marketers are often right in the middle of a dozen different initiatives, and you’re got to keep everyone happy.
In a hospital environment, where you have to report to many different stakeholders, maintaining a good relationship with your boss (or bosses!) is especially paramount. Managing your boss is a mutually beneficial venture that can have a ripple effect all the way down, and that’s a good thing for your marketing efforts.
If your boss isn’t the easiest person to work with, or if your personalities or work styles don’t fit together well, it’s easy to place all of the blame on them. But by understanding your boss’s strengths and weaknesses and actively working to support them, you can make life easier for your boss and in turn for yourself. Here are 6 tips to help you create a healthy and productive work environment for everyone.
1. Put yourself in their shoes
If you only do one thing to help your relationship with your boss, this should be it. It’s the foundational element of John Gabarro and John Kotter’s definitive article on the subject, published more than a quarter-century ago in the Harvard Business Review:
“At a minimum, you need to appreciate your boss’s goals and pressures. Without this information, you are flying blind, and problems are inevitable.”
What you’re able to accomplish with this basic knowledge will vary depending on your boss, but at the very least it’ll give you a clearer picture of what your own pressures are and how you can adjust your own goals accordingly, like a pilot flying with instruments even when they can’t see anything out of the window.
2. Find the right balance
Understanding your boss’s expectations will also give you a better idea of how much “managing up” you can do. Even if your boss is already giving you opportunities to take on a bigger leadership role, you won’t be able to change everything all at once. And if your boss isn’t receptive to new ideas and strategies, you need to change the way you go about it:
“The secret is to ‘manage up’ without them ever realizing you are doing it. So rather than think of your boss as your boss, think of them as a difficult client – one you have to figure out how to work with if you want to get ahead, even if you’d rather not.”
3. Be proactive
Waiting for your boss to provide you with everything you need to do your job well can be a recipe for disaster. Actively seeking out any necessary information and support instead of passively waiting for it to come to you is essential if you want to finish projects on time, on budget, and with results that are satisfactory to everyone involved.
4. Never assume
Even if your boss is the type to provide you with information and help before you ask, they’re still human, and things can slip through the cracks when you’re balancing many different projects at once. It’s always a good idea to base your expectations on this fact.
5. Communicate clearly
Don’t make things harder for your boss—that’ll just make them harder for you too. Always state your purpose and avoid belaboring points whether you’re speaking to your boss in person or writing an email. Respect your boss’s time and only use as many words as you need to get your point across.
6. Keep your promises
It’s easy to over-commit, especially when you have many projects going on simultaneously. But if you don’t deliver on your promises, your boss looks bad too, and future commitments carry less weight. Completing projects when you say you will not only helps your bottom line but also builds trust with your boss.