How to Keep Any Boss Happy
Regardless of the type of boss you’re working with, they all want and need the same things. Unfortunately, bosses are not always all that good at articulating these needs.
- KEEP YOUR PROMISES
- NO SURPRISES, EVER
- TAKE YOUR JOB SERIOUSLY
- ADVISE, THEN OBEY.
- PROVIDE SOLUTIONS, NOT COMPLAINTS.
- COMMUNICATE CLEARLY
- DO YOUR BEST WORK.
- MAKE YOUR BOSS SUCCESSFUL.
How to Get the Best from Your Boss
Now that you know what your boss expects of you, let’s examine how to put your boss to work for you by moving your career forward and looking out for your interests. Here’s how:
- EXPLAIN HOW YOU PREFER TO BE MANAGED
- OVER-PREPARE FOR EVERY MEETING.
- REMIND YOUR BOSS WHY YOU’RE VALUABLE.
- CULTIVATE YOUR BOSS’S PEERS.
- SHOW INTEREST IN YOUR BOSS’S CAREER.
- CULTIVATE COMPATIBLE PERSONAL INTERESTS
How to Use Your Performance Review
Most people treat performance reviews much as students treat report cards—as a way to find out how well they did when it’s too late to do anything about it. That’s naive, because your performance review is not a report card but a tool for you to get what you want.
If handled correctly (as shown below) the “review” part of this process will be either a formality or a victory lap. Then you use the meeting to set expectations for the future and extract promises that will advance your career.
- ASK HOW YOU’LL BE MEASURED AND REWARDED.
- PERIODICALLY COMPARE ACHIEVEMENTS TO METRICS.
- WRITE THE DRAFT OR PROVIDE “INPUTS.”
- USE “SURPRISES” TO EXTRACT CONCESSIONS.
How to Earn Respect from Your Peers
Contrary to popular belief, you can’t get respect from a job title or a position on an organizational chart. There are six ways to earn respect, regardless of the organization you’re in or the role you’ve been hired to fill.
- BE YOURSELF, NOT YOUR ROLE
- SHOW CURIOSITY ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE
- GIVE CREDIT WHERE DUE
- DRESS APPROPRIATELY FOR THE JOB.
- THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.
- ARTICULATE WITH AUTHORITY.
How to Play Clean Office Politics
Most people think office politics are bad for business. Nothing could be further from the truth. Office politics are an integral part of getting things done, whether you’re the CEO, a salesperson, or an intern hired for the summer.
The word politics comes from the Greek politikos, which means “of, for, or relating to citizens.” Far from being something negative, politics are nothing less than the art and science of influencing people.
Below is a four-step approach to office politics that doesn’t resort to tricks or deception
- UNCOVER AND UNDERSTAND NEEDS
- BUILD ALLIANCES.
- TRACK FAVORS AND OBLIGATIONS
- LINE UP YOUR DUCKS
How to Shine in a Meeting
Business meetings have never been more popular. About 25 million meetings take place every day in corporate America alone. Conservatively, at least half of that time is wasted by aimless presentations and pointless discussions.
Because of this, attend business meetings sparingly and only if it advances your own agenda. Remember: if you spend only ninety minutes a day (on average) in meetings, by the time you’re sixty-five they will have consumed eight years of your working life.
- KNOW YOUR OWN AGENDA
- KNOW WHY THE MEETING WAS CALLED.
- LIMIT YOUR MEETING ATTENDANCE
- PREPARE YOURSELF WELL
- GATHER YOUR IDEAS.
- READ THE ROOM, THEN CONTRIBUTE.
How to Be a Better Boss
Over the years I’ve worked with dozens of managers and interviewed hundreds more. As I consider how they approach their jobs and how they characterize their successes, I’ve noticed they tend to adhere to the following rules:
- MANAGE INDIVIDUALS, NOT NUMBERS.
- ADAPT YOUR STYLE TO THE INDIVIDUAL.
- ADOPT SIMPLE AND RELEVANT METRICS.
- SET ONE PRIORITY PER INDIVIDUAL
- KEEP YOUR TEMPER
- MEASURE YOURSELF BY YOUR WEAKEST EMPLOYEE.
- BE GENEROUS.
- DON’T BE A KNOW-IT-ALL.
- DON’T PLAY FAVORITES.
- GIVE LOYALTY TO GET LOYALTY
- BE REASONABLY TRANSPARENT.
- MAKE DECISIONS QUICKLY
How to Have Enough Time
Even though most people complain that they haven’t enough time, it’s actually easy to have enough time to get all your work done, and still have time left over for a personal life. The secret is as follows:
- STOP COMPLAINING
- TRACK YOUR TIME
- LEARN THE PARETO PRINCIPLE
- PRIORITIZE YOUR TO-DO LIST
- DO ONLY THE 20 PERCENT THAT REALLY MATTERS
- AVOID THESE HUGE TIME-WASTERS
How to Work a Room
Even if you’re naturally gregarious, it’s easy to be daunted by a roomful of people you don’t know, especially if those people are executives, leaders, and decision-makers you’d like to cultivate as contacts or customers.
The following process helps you circulate around a room and quickly build as many useful connections as possible.
- BE CURIOUS ABOUT PEOPLE YOU MEET
- POSITION YOURSELF IN A SINGLE SENTENCE.
- OBSERVE AND LISTEN.
- DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF
- OBSERVE AND LISTEN (AGAIN)
- OPEN A CONVERSATION
- ASK FOR A REAL MEETING.
How to Negotiate an Agreement
Negotiation consists of a back-and-forth conversation in which multiple potential decisions are proposed and discussed and a final decision agreed upon. Many negotiations are informal, but they follow the same principles as the formal negotiations described below.
Negotiations take place everywhere in business; your ability to negotiate will in many cases determine whether you’ll be able to get what you want from bosses, coworkers, and customers.
- DEFINE THE PARAMETERS
- RANK THE IMPORTANCE OF WHAT IS NEGOTIABLE.
- CREATE ARGUMENTS THAT SUPPORT YOUR POSITION
- HAVE A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE
- LET THE OTHER PERSON MAKE THE FIRST MOVE
- TURN POSITIONS INTO PROBLEMS
- ADAPT THE DEAL TO WHAT’S IMPORTANT
- KNOW WHEN THE NEGOTIATION IS OVER.
What to Do If You’re Stressed Out
Stress can result in headaches, muscle tension, muscle pain, chest pain, fatigue, upset stomach, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, lack of focus, irritability, depression, eating problems, addiction, and social withdrawal—here’s how to avoid it:
- WORK FORTY HOURS A WEEK (OR FEWER)
- AVOID STRESSED-OUT PEOPLE
- CREATE AND VISIT AN OASIS
- DISCONNECT FROM THE UNCONTROLLABLE.
- RENEGOTIATE YOUR WORKLOAD.
- TURN OFF THE NEWS
- LEARN TO SAY NO
- REMAIN IN THE HERE AND NOW
- NEVER ARGUE WITH FOOLS OR STRANGERS
- AVOID MULTITASKING