Administrative specialists are used to overseeing a wide range of tasks simultaneously. Making travel arrangements, preparing payroll reports, compiling sales presentations, and scheduling meetings are all in a day’s work. It may seem extreme to add another item to the list, but there is one more thing that all administrative personnel should be doing every day, and that is managing their bosses.
Executives and senior business leaders expect their assistants to provide dedicated support on a daily basis so they may maximize their own time and productivity. This requires a high level of trust built upon a close professional relationship combined with clear expectations to achieve the requisite level of synergy that enables all parties to thrive. If that is the type of rapport you would like to have with your employer, then read on for a list of seven ideas to help you manage your boss.
Essentially, before you can manage your boss, you must understand them. You need to know what makes them tick: their goals, habits, assets, limitations, stressors, pet peeves, and preferred work methods. Once you’ve learned all about your boss, you will be able to help them capitalize on the things they do well, minimize the effect of their shortcomings, and succeed in spite of their faults.
Possibly the most critical move you can make to maximize your ability to assist your supervisor is to request to be kept in the loop regarding major projects where your contributions are vital and necessary. Not only will this decrease the chances of being blindsided by last minute changes, but it will also enable you to anticipate her/his requests and emphasize your worth as a top performer.
This is very closely tied to number two. If you have a standing weekly meeting with your supervisor, then you will have the opportunity to be proactive and ask for the information you need to excel in your support role. You will also be able to take advantage of this time to keep s/he apprised of the projects you are working on and ask for additional resources.
Early on in your association with your supervisor, you must solicit her/his feedback as much as possible. The only way you will know for sure if you are performing adequately is to ask, and requesting regular informal assessments will enable you to adapt your work style as necessary to match your supervisor’s preferences. As your relationship with your boss progresses and becomes one of mutual respect and comfort with each other’s professional abilities, you will also be able to provide counsel if you believe s/he is overlooking critical details or making a mistake in judgment. Make sure you don’t overstep your bounds when offering advice, however.
Just as you require specific information from your boss in order to do your job to the best of your ability, you must share your knowledge and insight with her/him. Whether the news is good or bad, you must not keep it to yourself, and you should be giving your boss frequent updates as a matter of course (see number three). You also need to be honest with your supervisor regarding the size of your workload and capacity to take on additional responsibilities. If you are completely swamped or can’t get something done, it is essential that you communicate this as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the last minute to make your boss aware of it.
It goes without saying that you should strive to always be ready to support your boss, but when it comes to meetings and presentations, you need to be over prepared. If you show yourself able to handle any situation that arises and make your supervisor look good by providing key facts and figures as soon as they are requested, s/he will know that you can be a trusted partner as well as a subordinate.
There is nothing worse than hearing someone run through a litany of issues without suggesting any strategies for improvement. If you hit a snag on a major project, by all means inform the boss about it, but make sure you come prepared with an action plan. Your role is to make your supervisor’s job easier, not the other way around.