Lindsay: How do I know if my boss likes me? I want them to like me. I want him to think that I'm a top performer, that they can give me a promotion, that they can trust me with the things that matter. But how am I going to do that? I hear this question all the time as a career coach, so I want to show you the way to never walk into the room, and then how you should absolutely walk into the room when you have a meeting with your boss.
Here's how you SHOULDN'T speak and act in a meeting with your boss.
"Hey, thanks so much for meeting with me. I am so stressed out. Sarah isn't doing her part on the project even though we've told her several times what her part is. I'm way behind on emails and, honestly...have you ever just had like an existential crisis? Like what am I doing? What am I doing with my life?"
"Anyway, what do you think if, like, down the road, I would like to have like a higher position?"
"ALSO, emails...I just, I can't keep up with them. It's just a lot, you know, I'm just really overwhelmed right now."
Lindsay: DON'T DO THIS. Don't tell them that you're overwhelmed all the time. What else bothered you?
(Enter Lauren Moffatt, a kick-ass career coach who graciously agreed to play the role of Lindsay's boss.)
Lauren: Well, you came in expecting me to help you with a lot of your situations instead of taking ownership or even providing a solution for some of those things.
Lindsay: Okay, let's do that again. But this is how I want you to handle. Even if the same things are happening, this is how you want to get your boss to like you.
Hey, thanks so much for meeting. I do have a short agenda that I just want to go over with you real quick. Sarah and I are working together -- I mean, you know, we're kind of wired different, so we're figuring out how to work on this project and get it done in time. So just know that we're working through that right now. Secondly, I'm curious, do you have a solution for how you manage your email? I know that I need to figure out a solution and I wanted to see just if you had something that would be helpful.
Yeah, I appreciate that. We can talk about that.
Okay. The third thing on the agenda that I wrote and sent to you via email earlier today (wink wink), is just about my career trajectory here. I can see that it's going to take me awhile to get my footing here, but there's also some skills that I want to build and I'm wondering if there's a space for me as a leader once I have some of those skills. So, I interviewed a couple of leaders and VP's here, I just grabbed a quick 15 minutes with them over coffee. There's three big skills that I've learned that your leaders have. One is really high communication skills and being able to lead other people by being over communicative. The second one was really understanding project management, so I'm wanting to go to a seminar to hopefully learn more about that.
Yeah! And the third one was just this whole pile of soft people skills, like conflict resolution, that I haven't had to deal with yet at my level. So I really want to grow in those skills. I want to be a leader here. I love the work that we get to do, I'm really passionate about it and I know it's going to take some steps so I was hoping to get your advice on where I can start, and maybe where the company can support me in that growth.
I think that's great that you're thinking about this and that you've come to me with some suggestions that you've done your research! You are going to be hired!
Lindsay: How much did you like that employee?
Lauren: I liked that employee a lot.
Lindsay: Yes!! It worked you guys!
Here's the point. You want to make sure that you're always providing solutions. Even if you have an issue to bring up, you're actually saying, "I've been thinking about this. Here's how I think I should handle it. I just want your advice." It's never asking or expecting them to solve the problem for you. We're simply just asking for their advice based on the different solutions we have.
Another thing that bosses really enjoy is when you show that you like to be working at that company, that you're loyal and that you want to grow. But, I'm not asking my boss to help me figure all that out. I'm actually telling them: THESE are the areas that I want to grow in. How could this organization or how could you support me in this growth? Maybe there's a conference coming up next month -- any forward-thinking company is going to know that's a smart thing to invest in. So when you're coming to your boss, if you want them to like you, they need to really viscerally feel that you are on their team, that you want to be there, that they're not your enemy. You have a goal of where you want to go and you want to partner with the organization to make that happen.
There are going to be things that stress you out. And honestly, most of the time that things that are stressing you out will stress you out anywhere you go. Things like keeping up with emails or dealing with interpersonal conflicts. It doesn't matter where you work because when you put a bunch of humans together, this is what happens. So it's important to know that probably a lot of the tension that you're experiencing isn't about just your company, it's about having a job in the real world. It's about having somebody above you who dictates your pay and your level of leadership.
It's normal to have to work through those different tensions no matter where you are. So big picture, if you want to impress your boss, if you want your boss to like you, they have to know that you're on their team, that you want to grow and that you are actively finding solutions when you have an issue and you're not just expecting somebody else to swoop in and save the day.
I've been coaching young employees for over six years so I know the struggles that you're having! I want you to ask me any questions about your boss or how to handle a situation. I'd love to hear from you!
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