Friday, January 21, 2011

working with your boss

Last night I had the pleasure of having dinner and drinks with my boss - we had been at a conference in Philadelphia all day and decided to have a nice dinner and end the evening with a cocktail. I learned a lot about my boss - and also learned alot about what he expects from me (and my colleagues) in our position. It made me think about what I I do what I do...and whether or not my boss really knows what I do and how I do it. Here's what I am committing to do in the near future (this will be a short blog becasue it is snowing outside and I need to drive from my hotel to downtown Philly):

  • make a list of everything I am involved in at this point beyond the day-to-day running of my College. I want to show that list to my boss and dialogue with him about what he considers important and what I consider important. Where there is agreement, I can move forward with the assuredness that he is behind that 110%. Where there is disagreement, we will talk and I will re-evaluate my time spent on those issues.
  • start asking why he wants done the items he asks me to do. Rather than fuss about another project or update he is asking for, I will spend a few moments considering why he is asking, what the outcome he expects, and if I cannot figure it out myself, I'll ask. The "why" behind the tasks that do not come freely or easily to me can help me complete them not only in a more timely manner and with greater attention to the detail.
  • push him to consider other ways of getting goals accomplished. I figured out last night that he approaches how he wants his Deans to function based on what comes naturally and easily to him (duh!). However, I believe he is completely open to new ideas of how to get the work done. Rather than say, "there's another thing my boss wants," I can commit to going to him and saying, "have you considered another way of doing this."
  • set aside time for listening. My boss (as well as myself) likes to think and dream outloud. We do it in different ways, but we both need time to talk. I need to have some weekly time with him to let him talk with me about some of his new ideas. If I can then help him accomplish those ideas, everyone wins.
  • take his hints as duties to be done. He has admitted to me (and the rest of his reports) thast he does not like to dictate items, but would rather suggest things to be done. When I (and others) do not respond to those suggestions, he feels as if we are not doing what he asks us to do. Rather than make him change, I will need to listen more closely and when there is a suggestion of an action item, I will either act - or ask if that is something he wants done...and when he would like it done by.

Just a few thoughts about working with the least as of today. It was good for me to listen and hear how my boss thinks and what my boss needs from me. When was the last time you had a chance to really listen to yours?

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