Rush, rush, rush, rush, rush. Is that your boss? There’s never a minute of time for you. The trouble is, you need ongoing feedback and support from your boss.
Don’t worry. This problem can be solved, says Jason Walker, director at recruitment agency Hays. Walker found the solution at a training workshop he attended.
The workshop presenter pointed out that it’s near impossible to change your boss’s nature. The answer to a boss with no time, the presenter said, was to stop complaining and find a work around to get your boss’s attention. A light bulb went on for Walker and others in the room.
That workaround, says Walker, comes from following some quite simple rules:
- Manage up. If your boss appears too busy for you, then it’s your job to manage up, says Walker. You need to set the agenda and be in control to ensure you get what you need when you have time together.
- Study your boss’s habits. Your boss might be a workaholic. But figure out when he or she is most relaxed then grab that time. Is it first thing in the morning, straight after lunch, mid-afternoon, or even before or after the usual start/finish time? It may even be on the walk to the car park, train, bus or ferry. If you know your boss’s regimes and schedules, you can sneak time in for you.
- Diary meetings. Don’t wait for your boss to set your performance review date or to have regular catch-ups. You need to be in control of setting the time. That might be a weekly or monthly catch-up. Some bosses do actually want to make time for you and will appreciate you taking control. Keep your boss in the loop so he or she knows what’s going to happen. In the meeting guide the discussion according to your requirements.
- Be prepared. Do the meeting preparation even if it’s not your job. Arrange the necessary paperwork yourself. Have a list of what you want to discuss and even consider emailing it through a few days before the meeting. “Come in with strategies and solutions to meetings,” says Walker. “If you do that you get the right attention.”
- Find another source of feedback or advice. If you need your boss to coach you and he or she is rarely on site, seek out another person in the organisation to play this role. It might be your boss’s boss. Or it could be someone senior in another department. Just make sure you get what you need to move ahead in your career.
Finally, for your own benefit, find a way to make this work. You’re responsible for your own success.
Have a list of what you want to discuss and even consider emailing it through a few days before the meeting.