Your Boss Is Your #1 Customer

Your Boss Is Your #1 Customer

Manage Your Boss

One of the most important relationships for your short- and long-term career success is your relationship with your boss. Your manager plays a critical role in your career trajectory, or lack thereof, by virtue of their role in assigning work, evaluating your performance, providing exposure and visibility, and serving as your advocate during performance-calibration and succession-planning meetings where promotions and next assignments are decided.

Treating your boss as your #1 customer means first establishing a strong, positive working relationship where they know meeting and exceeding their expectations is a priority for you. It means becoming one of their direct reports with whom they want to spend time because you consistently add value and they enjoy the experience of engaging with you. It also means your boss experiences you as someone with a strong “say/do ratio”—that is, your boss can count on you to say what you mean to do and then get it done. You accomplish and deliver what you promise—on time, on budget, and with few, if any, missteps. And, you have a well-deserved reputation for delivering high-quality work. Finally, most every boss appreciates an employee who anticipates well. That is, you provide your boss what they need, just when they need it, even though they didn’t yet know to ask for it. Anticipation—a quite powerful tool in your toolbox! 

Use this link for more information on successfully managing your boss: Managing Your Boss Crossing the Finish Line.

Know Who Makes The Rules

My goal is for you to use your strong, positive relationship with your boss to become an active member of your boss’s “kitchen cabinet.” Membership in this group makes you one of your boss’s critical “go-to people.” That means you are one of the first people your boss thinks of when new, critical assignments are being allocated. It may also mean you are asked to complete significantly more work than your peers, but in return you also have access to significantly more opportunities, exposure, and promotions. Finally, it means learning and playing by your boss’s rules. 

Use this link to reflect on workplace rules for staff in your boss’s organization: Self-Coaching Worksheet 1 : Who Makes the Rules in Your Organization?

Perform An Alignment Check

During this month of March, and the end of the first quarter for most organizations, hopefully you have worked with your manager to gain alignment on their expectations for your 2022 deliverables. Take the time to ensure there is mutual clarity on how your boss will evaluate your performance and what you must deliver to receive an outstanding performance rating. Make sure your 2022 goals and objectives are 75% in support of your boss’s goals. I call this the concept of “nested goals,” which helps ensure alignment and focus on what’s truly valued by your organization and your boss. And, similarly, you will want to ensure your direct reports’ goals are 75% in support of your goals, and that you have clarified what you will consider outstanding performance.

Establish regular, monthly check-ins with your boss to ensure you remain aligned and focused on what’s most important to them, including current issues, concerns, and deliverables. And, have sufficient information to anticipate well.

Never underestimate the importance of treating your boss as your #1 customer for your ongoing career success!

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