Train your boss to communicate with you regularly – this is crucial to the success of your relationship. You should know where your boss is at all times even though you may not reveal this to others. Throughout your relationship it is imperative to have regular meetings and continuous communication – possibly every day, or whatever works for you both and complements your schedules.
The length and formality of the meetings is up to you and your boss. If you use an agenda make sure that your boss has the opportunity to add anything s/he wishes to discuss.
Whatever the case, treat them like an important client meeting:
have them in your boss’s diary as often as you need in order to do your job properly. When you are in the meeting, shut the door and put the boss’s phone through to someone to take messages so that you are not disturbed. Bosses who do not like doing administration will usher you out as soon as they can, but stick at it until you have all the answers you need that day. A good tip from Susie Stubley is to say at the end of the meeting to your boss: ‘And what else is there you want to tell me?’ Using the words ‘what else’ prompts them into thinking that there is indeed something else and they rack their brains until you do have everything they need to tell you.
‘Never be frightened to ask your boss to explain again, if you
don’t understand. People would rather you do it right, than either
totally wrong or not at all.’
If you have a boss who spends a lot of time away from the office then suggest that they phone you after each meeting and update you on what has happened. You can make notes and take any follow-up action that is required. If all that is needed is a new date in the diary for a meeting with the client or an e-mail that needs sending with information, you can do it before your boss has even left the client’s car park! Imagine how the client feels when your boss has promised something and, as soon as s/he has left the client’s office, whatever has been promised is sitting in the client’s in-box! You will have exceeded the expectations of your boss and the client. Update meetings and telephone calls can be pivotal to an excellent working relationship. Assistants will feel more involved and have more understanding of their boss’s world. Good news can also be shared, creating excitement and celebration that is always good for building relationships. It is also important to take just a few minutes to catch up on things outside the office – such as your boss’s home life and hobbies. When you understand the whole person, this helps to build relationships.
We all interpret things differently. If you are having a meeting with your boss and you want to ask for something, change something or have a suggestion to make – or even want to take on more of the boss’s work – then state what you want clearly and get to the point, backing it up with data, reasons and proof if appropriate. Choose your time to approach the boss in a suitable location such as their office; don’t do it whilst they are passing your desk or as you pass in the corridor. If necessary, book yourself a time in the diary and go into the boss’s room. Bosses may have opinions about your performance but fail to share those thoughts. Initiating occasional feedback discussions and making sure your appraisals happen will give them an opportunity to let you know what they are thinking – see more information on appraisals in the section on ‘Continual learning’. You may encounter ‘difficult people’ or characteristics that you do not like; however, you should be consistently professional, pleasant and cooperative regardless of how difficult or unpleasant they may be. You should always show respect for other people even if you don’t like them. Be patient and get to know people and ‘their ways’ and take a look at ‘Dealing with difficult people and managing conflict’.
If you want to shine in your role, take a look at the training courses we offer at Bingo Traders. Designed specifically for EAs, PAs, Admins, Office Managers,… , these learning opportunities provide the skills and knowledge you’ll need to excel.
Sue France / Photo on Unsplash