If you habitually come with a pile problems to your boss, s/he will most likely limit face time with you. Come not only with problems, but also with options of how to solve them. Take a stance and explain your reasoning for why you prefer a particular option.The conversation will be between problem solvers, solution finders and you will more likely discover how your boss thinks, and what is important to him or her and also what your boss’ expectations are.
Be respected by your boss by having a strategic conversation vs being simply an executant.”
If you go to your boss and say, “What should I do?” Your boss might answers something in the order of, “Prepare your marketing plan for your section and bring it to me”
This is an example where you are acting as an executant that is simply following orders.
– Or –
If you go to your boss and say, “I do not know how to solve our lack of sales revenue this quarter.”
In this case, you are bringing to your boss’ attention a problem. Although it is acceptable not to know all the answers, do your homework first.
Instead, be strategic and provide your boss with possible options and include the pros and cons for each option. For example:
- Option 1) “We could increase our sales revenues by initiating a campaign this quarter. The pros are we will target new and old clients. The cons are the cost of the campaign and it is a less personal approach.”
- Option 2) “We could offer breakfast meetings with our current clients and propose our new products. We have already created a trusting relationship with them. I have already surveyed our current clients on their interest for our new products and have found them engaged but most of our clients have asked for a demonstration on how our products work. The pros are that we instigate a more personal relationship with our clients and can tailor our response to their needs as to how to use the new products to their particular situation.”
You could tell your boss, “The breakfast with our key clients is a better option. We have already established a trusting relationship with them. At the breakfast meetings we are more likely to close contracts with our current clients after demonstrating how our new products fit their particular needs.”
Relate it to the company’s overall mission.
“Moreover, it responds to our overall mission to be closer advisors to our clients.”
Your boss may agree or disagree with your reasoning but your boss will be a lot more interested in your problem solving approach and you will learn more from your boss’ response than simply executing your boss’ commands. Come back again next week for an additional tips to ensure a prosperous integration into a new position, a successful on-boarding and an excellent relationship with your boss.
Katrina Burrus, PhD, MC