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Five easy ways to help your manager do their job

Published 13th April 2017 by Melissa Farrington
Happy manager and employee

Line management is a really tough gig: it’s easy to forget what it must be like for your manager, trying to make sure you’re supported, engaged and motivated, that you feel valued and accepted and recognised as an individual, yet are focusing daily on organisational goals in a way that benefits the organisation. And that, in most cases, in addition to their day job of working!

If you want to make your manager’s life easier, there are many ways you can do it. And in fact, thinking about this early will set you in good stead for line management yourself.

Five ways to help your manager out

  1. Understand their goals: organisations work well when everyone’s goals are aligned. If you understand what your manager’s manager expects of them, you can better understand what your manager expects of you, because it’s all linked together. This will allow you to have better conversations about where you can really add value to the organisation, and your manager will trust that you have the interests of the organisation at heart
  2. Never forget the golden rule: the biggest mistake in organisational life is not making mistakes, or forgetting something. It’s not speaking up. If your boss can’t trust you to say something straight away if you make a mistake, or flag up something that could turn into a drama, or point out something that’s fallen by the wayside, they will forever be second guessing your intentions. By making it clear from the beginning you will speak up when necessary, they’ll be confident of you bringing things to their attention at the right time
  3. Always do what you say you’ll do: trust comes with alignment: when people say they’ll do something and then do it, trust is built, a little at a time. When they say they’ll do something and don’t do it, trust is destroyed. It’s unfair but true. So make sure you do something when you say you’ll do it. If you can’t do it, don’t commit! But do give a reasonable explanation of why you can’t do it, and an accurate timeframe of when you will be able to do it
  4. Try to understand their style: often we talk about ‘good bosses’ or ‘bad bosses’ but sometimes we reach these conclusions when we don’t understand their style. Do they like written information or to have a conversation? Do they want regular updates on projects, or do they just want you to get on with it? Understand the way your boss works and you can be a far more effective employee because you can align your actions around their expectations - and that’s great for trust, empowerment and for them really seeing how great a job you’re doing
  5. Be dependable and solutions-focused: as a manager, it’s comforting to know your staff are solutions-focused and dependable when firefighting, which will inevitably happen in organisational life. If your boss thinks you kick off, or panic, or bury your head in the sand, when solutions are needed, they’ll find it hard to trust you or give you more responsibility. You need to show that when it comes down to it, you have the maturity, experience and strength of character to solve problems first and de-brief second