The problem with bosses is that no two are alike. Right about the time you’ve figured out what your boss needs, you get promoted. That is, you get promoted if you’ve done a good job of managing your boss. Otherwise, you may find yourself on LinkedIn searching for a new job.
We are also living at a time of greater diversity of bosses. With our global economy, you may have a boss who is from another country or who may actually live in that other country while he manages you remotely. Exciting? Yes. Easy to manage? Not so much.
Here’s some advice on how to decipher your boss’s management style from those who have been there.
It took Kyle Jones, Chief Operations Officer at ESS Group, Inc. two years to figure out the management style of his boss. “I’m an analytical person. As such, I like to give details and perfect my work before submission. She is a “just get it doner” and give me a high-level overview of the decisions that need to be made or were made,” notes Jones. The two would often clash because of the speed at which he worked at times.
Jones was going for accuracy, while his boss was looking for a foundation they could collectively build upon. After several clashes, a very direct and hard conversation was injected into their relationship. In their meeting, both parties were able to to respectfully voice their own approaches, needs, and expectations. Jones left with a better understanding of how things needed to be delivered and they were able to operate at a much more efficient level.
Jones strongly suggests having a conversation with your boss, even if it might not be an easy conversation to have. If you don’t know how, find a mediator who can assist.
When Khamis Maiouf, CEO and founder of the book of barbering first started working in a salon he misunderstood his boss’s hands-off approach as disinterest. This led to a challenging review where his boss expressed disappointment in Maiouf’s lack of initiative. “I realized I had misinterpreted his management style, mistaking his trust in my abilities for indifference,” states Maiouf.” I decided to adjust by taking more ownership of my tasks, even seeking feedback proactively. This shift led to a better working relationship and improved my overall job performance.”
Keep in mind that your success in the organization is completely dependent on how well you manage your relationship with your boss. Your boss has the codes to unlock doors that will remain closed if you fail to nurture this relationship.
You may be thinking that you are just as vital to your boss’s success as she is to yours and that is somewhat true. Your boss is indeed less likely to achieve her goals without your support. However, your boss probably has other direct reports she can rely on, while you most likely have only one boss. The sooner you recognize that you’re the one that will have to adapt, the better off you will be. Decoding your boss is one skill you will continue to fine-tune throughout your career.