How to Not Exhaust Your Boss
Navigating the work environment can be a challenge. Not only do you have to learn processes and systems that help you to work more efficiently, you also need to figure out how you can work effectively with your colleagues and superiors. Depending on the industry, there are certain times or moments during a work day where the biggest chunk or workload comes, which in turn makes it the “peak period” in the workplace. The last thing you would want is to seek guidance or assistance from your peers or bosses when they may be already swarmed with tasks of their own.
What are some ways that employees can work efficiently and productively to align with the goals and aspirations of the management? Here are some tips on how to not exhaust your boss by adopting these personas.
The Patient Planner
It can be tempting to ask questions immediately whenever a problem arises while you are working on a task. While it is good to be proactive and find out about things from your boss in order to complete your work quickly, it is also important to judge your boss’s openness in addressing the questions and if the time is appropriate to ask them. Continuously asking questions throughout the day may cause interruptions in your boss’s thought processes and disrupt work flow.
If your boss is occupied with something important, it might be worth considering postponing your enquiries and putting aside that piece of work. The patient planner puts aside time to reorganise himself or herself. Since there is already a question, the patient planner will list out more questions that need to be asked, be it for other tasks that have to be cleared presently or in the future. Embodying this persona requires a degree of self-control and contemplation. Think through these questions and discern whether they can be addressed if you spent time researching for answers or if your boss has to address them for greater clarity. Once you have listed them out, find a time to meet your boss and run through the questions all at once. This way, your boss will be able to expect questions from you and be in a better space to discuss them with you.
Within the company, the strategist looks for ways to acquire knowledge from colleagues without having to turn to his or her boss all the time for help. Different departments in the company specialise in different bodies of expertise. Understanding the ecosystem in the environment will help the strategist know who to turn to for a particular kind of problem or to look for advice. For example, if the strategist needs to come up with a pitching deck for clients, the copywriting department will be a good place to seek advice on writing in a way that persuades. Reaching out to colleagues and finding people strategically can also expand your network inside the company and help you to learn how to work cohesively with your colleagues to fulfil bigger company objectives. This way, you don’t need to exhaust your boss with clarifications that he or she may not know. Understanding the roles of your colleagues from different departments and learning from them can also help you to expand your skillsets and become more independent in figuring out things on your own. It also helps to diversify your helpline whenever you have problems or enquiries. This is especially effective when deadlines are tight.
The Proactive Participant
A model employee always thinks ahead of what goals need to be achieved in the company. The proactive participant takes time to understand gaps in the company and is always thinking of ways to make improvements or plans ahead. Besides working on the tasks assigned, take a step further to put yourself in the shoes of your boss and ask yourself what can be improved on based on this perspective. Be confident in airing your thoughts and opinions when you suggest creative solutions for the company. Don’t wait until your boss asks you about planning for the future. Take active steps to do so before meetings where you need to update on progress. The proactive participant will give bosses the impression of being reliable and passionate about their work. They do their work without having to be told.
When it comes to receiving feedback, the proactive participant internalises feedback given and strives to improve gradually by applying the advice given by bosses. Active steps and measures are taken to ensure that the same mistakes don’t happen again, that things are completed at a much more efficient pace. Being mindful of corrections help bosses to see that you are serious about your work and you put in the effort to become a better contributor to the company.
The Honest Employee
There might be a tendency for you to take on a workload that you might not have the capacity to complete. This may result in fatigue and reduced quality in your output resulting from the fatigue. The consequence is that your boss might have to delegate the piece of work to someone else or redo the task himself or herself upon review. All these require extra effort and time. In these cases, it is important to adopt the persona of the honest employee and be transparent with your boss on what can be achieved. This can pave the way to more discussions on how you can be supported and what you can do to increase the quality and output of your work. Seek advice during employee evaluation sessions and see how you can improve in this area of managing your work. It could be an issue of time management, scope of work, or mismatch in expectations. Keep open conversations open before you commit to doing something that you cannot deliver. Through these conversations, you can also establish a positive relationship with your boss where you work through problems together.
Out of the four personas presented, which one do you think your boss would appreciate more? Understanding the working style of your bosses and learning how to work with them in the most effective way takes time. Be patient with yourselves in this learning process and adapt when you need to.