4 tips to communicate well with your manager
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A good relationship with your manager is critical to your success at work. Not only will it make your job easier and more enjoyable on a day-to-day basis, but it will help you advance your career.
Communicating effectively is a key part of building that relationship. Here are four tips to help you communicate better:
Learn how your manager prefers to communicate. Some managers like to have frequent face-to-face meetings, while others prefer to catch-up via email or phone. Your manager might like to get frequent updates on a project or she might want to be informed only if there is a problem. At key times, some managers expect after-hours availability for emails and phone calls. By paying attention to your manager’s communication style and asking about his preferences if you are unsure, you’ll be heard when you need to talk about something important.
Keep your manager up-to-date. Don’t allow your manager to be surprised by anything. Make sure he has the information he needs to avoid any potential problems or to handle questions or requests from customers, colleagues or his own manager.
Incorporate feedback as part of your ongoing relationship with your manager. Asking for feedback—and acting on the advice you get—lets your manager know that you care about improving your work and that you value his opinion. Let your manager know what you need from him, too. Saying things like, “Your written comments on that report were very helpful. I really understand what you’re looking for now”, helps your manager understand what you need in order to do a good job. Be sincere and specific about what you appreciate so your comments are not mistaken as attempts to “flatter” which could alienate colleagues or your manager.
When something goes well, send your manager an email straight away. It will advertise your accomplishments, add a positive note to the day and perhaps give your manager something she’ll want to forward to her own manager. You can also save a copy for your own records to use during performance reviews. Keep in mind that if you want to maintain the valuable trust between you and your boss, you’ll have to tell him when something goes wrong, too.
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This article was adapted from the LifeWorks article “Building a Productive Relationship With Your Manager”.