By Deana Carter
Talent Acquisition Specialist, APUS
As an employee, you have significant power over your manager’s job satisfaction. If you are a conscientious and dependable employee, your manager’s job becomes much easier.
Why should you care about making your manager’s job easier? It’s quite simple: having a good relationship with your manager also has a huge impact on your own job satisfaction.
As the saying goes, “People leave managers, not companies.” With that in mind, I recommend the following professional theme for 2017: “How can I make my manager’s job easier?”
Unfortunately, it is much more common for managers to ask this question about their employees. In the best working relationships, this question should be considered by both employees and managers.
Here are six steps you can make your manager’s job easier.
1. Get to Know Your Manager
Make an effort to get to know your manager. Try to understand what she loves about her job and what challenges are on her plate. You might be surprised that you can assist with some of those challenges. Try to get a feel for her work preferences and pet peeves, and think about them when you are working with her.
2. Remember that Professional Behavior Makes a Difference
As with any relationship, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference. Show up on time, be nice to your co-workers, follow the dress code, help clean up communal eating areas and pitch in when someone needs a little help.
Most managers dread dealing with these seemingly small issues, especially with their top performers. If you can keep up your end of the bargain with basic employment expectations, you will have a much better relationship with your manager.
3. Take Feedback from Your Manager Seriously
If your manager gives you critical feedback, make sure he never has to tell you more than once. There are few things managers dislike more than having to provide the same feedback over and over again, especially if it’s regarding a basic job expectation. If it is a performance issue and it’s not something that can be corrected immediately, make sure your manager knows you have a plan for improvement.
4. Consider: What Would My Manager Do?
Before you go to your manager with a list of questions or issues, ask yourself, “What would my manager do in this situation?” By asking yourself this question, you might find some answers.
If you use your available resources and still cannot find the answer, then go right ahead and ask your manager. This approach shows your manager that you can work autonomously and make good use of available resources. It also allows your manager to focus on the more essential parts of his job.
(Disclaimer: Don’t be discouraged from asking questions, but think critically about the questions you have. There are certainly questions that managers need to address. Just make sure that they are not ones that you have the ability or authority to answer yourself.)
5. Bring Potential Solutions to Your Manager
Making your manager’s job easier doesn’t mean avoiding difficult conversations or not doing anything to “rock the boat.” What it does mean is you need to approach these situations professionally.
If you’re going to complain to your manager about a job-related task, customer situation or something that’s been bothering you, try to understand how he will view you during this conversation. If you presented a problem, did you bring a solution to that problem? Did you offer to help in some way to solve the problem? Your manager will appreciate your thoughtfulness if you come to a meeting and put a solution on the table instead of just a problem for him to solve.
6. Give Honest Feedback to Your Manager
You don’t always need to be a “yes man” when your manager asks you for something. Saying yes to everything can cause you to fall behind and create more work for your co-workers. It can also cause you to miss deadlines or work unreasonable hours to get things completed.
If you’re asked to do something and you simply don’t have time, be honest with your manager. If it’s something he needs you to complete, ask him to prioritize your workload so you can get the job done.
Having a relationship with your manager that makes both your job and his easier is a win-win. If you make “How can I make my manager’s job easier?” your slogan for 2017, I promise you’ll see a marked improvement in your working relationship with your manager and ultimately an increase in your job satisfaction.