(5) Tips on How to Manage Your Boss

Unless you are your own boss, you have probably uttered the words, or thought to yourself at one point or another, that your boss is driving you crazy. You may have muttered this under your breath, or shared this comment with a colleague, or someone outside your work circle.

Based on the dynamics of the typical boss and subordinate roles, it is quite likely that you will be annoyed by your boss now and then. This is normal, especially since the work is mainly flowing your way, without the ability to decline or limit the amount of assignments coming your way. Or is there?

Perhaps you have heard that everything is negotiable? It really is, but not everyone feels comfortable negotiating, so they simply accept the work that flows their way.

Those who have developed negotiating skills, even minor ones, tend to be much more satisfied with their bosses. Why? Because they are indirectly managing the situation. The best part of having a negotiating conversation with your boss, is that they may not be aware of the fact they are being managed by you.

So, if you are thinking, I do not like to negotiate, and my communication or debating skills are not up to the task, keep reading.

Similar to the belief that everyone has creative skills, if you can talk, you have to ability to also develop your negotiation skills.

At its most basic level, negotiating is about asking questions. You can do that! By asking questions about the assignment, your boss will be forced to confront whether what he or she is asking has been fully thought through.

You might be surprised how many times they have not thought through what they are asking you to accomplish, and are only serving as a middle man pushing assignments down from above. Negotiating also allows you to gain clarity on aspects of work (e.g., timeframe flexibility, who else can or should be involved, how is the success of the project outcome to be measured).

Here are five tips on how to manage your boss.

  1. At the beginning of the week, assess the mood of your boss. You can typically do this by having a brief conversation on Monday morning, or by checking in with one of your colleagues. If they are in a less than favorable mood, leave them alone until mid-day and then reassess. Monday mornings can be stressful. The beginning of the week is a popular time when the upper management team meets with your boss to review the status of how the business is going. Even if the stats are on track, this can impact the mood of your boss.

 

  1. Make sure you have a weekly assigned time to check in with your boss, even if it is for only 10 minutes each day, or once a week for 30 minutes. During any of these sessions, make sure you have set the agenda are driving the conversation. Setting the agenda puts you in charge. In essence, you are managing your boss.

 

  1. Clarify monthly or quarterly expectations. This is a critical component to managing your boss. As long as you are clear about the project and results of the work you are doing, and making sure during your weekly meetings that priorities have not changed, you will be in strong alignment with their expectations.

 

  1. Get to know your boss. Take time to go out to lunch or coffee with him or her once or twice a month to have a non-work conversation. If you do not do this, you run the risk of them not seeing you as a whole person, with other dimensions of your personality they may not be able to observe in the office. More and more people work remotely and may not have too many opportunities to meet with their boss in person, but when you do, make sure you go through this same exercise.

 

  1. Ask your boss to articulate how you can help them with your professional contributions to make them look good. This may seem awkward, but ask anyway, as most people do not know the answer, and may, in fact, be entirely wrong by making incorrect assumptions. Get the facts, work with them – another key way of managing your boss.

Depending on your career level, some of these suggestions would need to be modified, but most of these techniques actually can and will work. They have been applied successfully by people who are just starting out, all the way to the highest “C” level executives.

Managing your boss is a concept from which just about everyone can benefit. Test drive some of them and see if they work for you.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging teams (sports & business). What does this do for our clients? It provides them with an acceleration boost to reach their goals sooner, and interact with a renewed efficiency, focus and energy level.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

How do I make my company relevant?

No person or company wants to be classified as irrelevant, especially by their employees, customers or prospects. So, what if your company is being classified this way? Would you know this is happening? Would you know what to do to change the narrative and perception others have? These are tough questions, and ones every company has a chance of confronting.

Let’s make the assumption your company is being classified as irrelevant. Now what? Who is responsible for addressing this? Is this a Human Resource challenge? Perhaps, but the person at the top of the organization also is going to have to play a critical role in helping to remedy this label, and they can’t do it alone.

Based on the fact our economy is relatively strong at this point in time, and that employees have many options to consider if they are not satisfied with the company they are aligned with, retaining employees has become a top concern. One of the many reasons employees decide to abandon their present company has to do with relevancy, and whether they feel a strong alignment to the brand, or perhaps the mission of an organization.

Not all companies have the luxury of being easily aligned with a mission or brand that everyone feels compelled to support, and if they do, then they are more fortunate than others. However, this is only one factor to consider. The fact is, many companies were not founded on the principles and desires that employees, customers and prospects are now looking at via a new lens of having the company they work for also be socially and culturally responsible.

So, the real questions to consider are to think about whether your company is relevant, and then if it is not, what can you do to become relevant in the new lens that you are being looked at? Let’s start with these questions and considerations:

  • You first need to define what relevancy means to your company. This should be tackled from all levels within an organization, as you do not want to only have a top down perspective. This could be in fact what originally got your company into the irrelevant territory.
  • If you were to ask your employees what your company mission statement is, would they know what it is?
  • Would your employees feel indifferent to what your mission statement is? Or, would they feel a stronger alignment with your company when they know what it is?
  • Have you asked exiting employees why they are leaving? There could be enormous clues you will uncover if you have this conversation.
  • Do you happen to know the reason most people who have been at your company for more than three years, enjoy working at your company? Do they actually enjoy working at your company, or are they just buying time on their resume to jump to the next best opportunity?
  • How in touch are the top-level executives at your company with the pulse of the company culture?
  • When was the last time any of your executives informally met with or cruised the halls simply to engage in conversation with employees?
  • Are your executives and non-executives getting out in front of customers to have a better sense of what your company can do to make your services or products better? Is this a function you solely rely upon sales or product marketing to do? If so, you have a huge opportunity to benefit from doing this.
  • Is anyone at your company having fun?
  • Do employees seem to get along well with one another, or is there tension throughout the organization?
  • Do you have someone on your staff who you can rely upon to keep a pulse on the organization, who is not in an HR role? Ideally this would be a mid-level manager.
  • How united would you say your teams are? All of your teams, not just your sales, marketing and executive teams.
  • Would you know what kind of plan you need to course correct to make your company more relevant?

Wearing the badge of being irrelevant is similar to a scarlet letter. If you think or know your company is becoming or is irrelevant in any number of categories, there is hope to turn this scenario around. However, if you do not know how to go about doing this, make sure you align with the right type of expert to help you to course correct your direction. Similar to other situations, the first thing which needs to happen is to admit there is a problem, and then commit to addressing and fixing it.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging teams (sports & business). What does this do for our clients? It provides them with an acceleration boost to reach their goals sooner, and interact with a renewed efficiency, focus and energy level.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195

Authenticity sparkle. Do you have it?

Not everyone is charming all the time, but those who are both charming and authentic certainly have advantages over others. You know who they are, and you quite possibly could be one of these people. Most salespeople can pull off a version of being charming, but the exceptional ones also do this authentically. Of course, I’m referencing salespeople because this particular career requires them to have what I refer to as ‘authentic sparkle’.

When someone has authentic sparkle, it’s incredibly obvious to others, and yet it may or may not be obvious to the person who possesses this ability. This may sound absurd, but I have seen this phenomenon so many times, I decided to share my take on how others who do not have this combo can either work on obtaining it, or hire someone who possesses it to be on their sales team.

So, the first thing you need to be aware of is the main characteristic traits for authentic sparkle. This is how I would break down being able to recognize them, although chances are you too have recently come across someone with these traits.  This is a limited list, but will provide you with enough clues on how to recognize the signs of this person.

  • When you first meet them, you feel like you have known them forever, or have met them before, but can’t remember exactly when it was.
  • They have the ability to converse on just about any topic you can imagine, with ease and beyond simply a surface level.
  • This is the type of person you want to invite to your next party or family gathering, even if you just met them.
  • They have an uncanny ability to put you at complete ease, even if the situation is stressful.
  • Although it seems unrealistic, you immediately have a sense you can trust this person, but you can’t put your finger on exactly understanding why you feel this way.
  • You want to help this person, even if you do not normally extend help to people you have just met.
  • This person literally makes your day better instantly when you meet them. Who doesn’t want to align themselves with this type of individual?

Have you met someone recently who you could describe as having some if not all of the characteristics above? If you have, what was the experience like for you?

Now, let’s switch gears and talk about how you too could attempt to acquire some of the characteristic traits noted above. These traits do not have to only apply to salespeople, as having a persona type which includes the characteristics above can be beneficial to lots of professions, and can carry over into your life too.

If you are interested in adding authentic sparkle to your life or profession, here are some tips on how to go about doing so.

  • Just be yourself. Seriously, too many people are attempting to be like others, but in my opinion, most people I have met are all pretty incredible in their own unique way. Embrace it, or like my article titled “Embrace Your Weirdness” encourages, don’t be afraid to show others who you really are.
  • Focus more on listening versus talking about yourself. Apply the 80/20 rule, which consists of listening 80% of the time, and limiting your talking to 20%. When you do this, you automatically come across as being more authentic.
  • Commit to once per day doing one nice thing for someone else. Both you and the person you did the nice thing for will add to your what I will call “sparkle bank”. I have also referred to this as your “karma bank”, and essentially, they are similar.
  • Look for opportunities to practice being authentic. If you do not provide yourself with chances to practice being charming, and your genuine self, you are not going to automatically become better at this simply because you want to. Sorry to burst your bubble on this, but it’s true.
  • After around one month of applying these basic tips, see if anyone notices or tells you that you seem happier or more fun to be with. Or, perhaps you will start to be invited out more or included in experiences you were not in the past. If this happens, you will know your authentic sparkle is starting to kick into gear for you.

Whether you want to have more authentic sparkle or hire someone who possesses it, I hope my take on how to go about upping your sparkle will work for you, or allow you to find people to hire which have this trait. One last hint, people who have “Woo” or “Positivity” in their Gallup Strengths Top 5, generally will have the authentic sparkle you are looking for.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging teams (sports & business). What does this do for our clients? It provides them with an acceleration boost to reach their goals sooner, and interact with a renewed efficiency, focus and energy level.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

Are you are Praiser? You should be.

Even constructive criticism can be harmful. Contrasting criticism with a genuine comment which is positive and actual praise, can do wonders for someone. Especially their confidence. Let’s face it, just about everyone can benefit from a confidence booster every now and then.

I read an article this weekend about women in business. Essentially the article boiled down to the fact that women are much less apt to give praise to other women. This applies both in the office, and outside of it too. What a shame this is happening. It doesn’t have to, and even though the article focused on women, men can be equally stingy about giving out praise.

Unfortunately given our current office climate, men are probably afraid or concerned about praise being misconstrued in a negative way, and potentially used against them. I can understand why they might be hesitant to do so. However, sincerely giving out praise in a “Switzerland-like” neutral way is possible to do. It takes a bit more effort to think through constructing the comment, but it is worth it.

Back to the women. There are absolutely no excuses for them not to be giving more praise to one another. Some theorists would suggest women do not compliment one another because they are fiercely competitive with one another. In just about all situations. As a woman, I can definitively tell you I have seen this happen first hand.

I cringe when I think about having witnessed a missed opportunity to praise someone, or a team. However, I’m not one to just stand by the sideline and keep quiet about what I see. Instead, I speak privately to the person who was the lack of praise culprit, at a later point in time.

When I speak with them, I gently explain to them about how damaging their lack of praise can be. I also point out that when praise is not given, they are missing out on an incredible opportunity to elevate another person. In fact, women should be the first ones to be supporting one another, although the concept of praising others is gender neutral.

People can thrive in so many different ways. One of the best ways to do so is via having others support them through basic and sincere praise. Think about an instance that sticks out in your mind about a time when someone provided you with genuine praise. It felt great, didn’t it? It should have. However, it’s a fleeting feeling, and needs to be fueled by more praise. Which as we have established is easy to give, and should be given far more often than it is.

There is no need to be stingy with praise. To be crystal clear, I also don’t believe or support the school of tough luck or love. I have yet to see how this type of management or coaching style of interaction is more effective than a highly supportive and encouraging environment. In fact, I have seen teams who are managed with an iron fist, and directly or indirectly through words or actions told they are essentially not good enough. The results? A slow and painful destruction of the team’s morale, character and worse, self-esteem.

When a team is ruled, and deprived of praise, I have seen the business numbers typically prove out negative performance results. In this case, I’m referring to a sales team, but other types of teams (e.g., sports, customer success, marketing, engineering, product development) are also negatively impacted in other ways from lack of praise. For instance, their productivity and creativity levels are usually way off.

The worst part about the management types who operate with a little to non-existent praise philosophy, is that they are generally blind to the negative impact they are having. What a tragedy for those who are under this type of management style.

Is it possible to turn around a person whose leadership or management style is absent of praise? Of course, it is. Is it easy to do this? Yes, and no. Yes, if they are willing to be open to trying another approach which will yield better and different results. No, if they are closed minded and think only they have all of the answers.

Being a consummate optimist, I always give everyone the benefit of being willing to change for the better. I have even seen some real-life miracles of leaders and coaches who have been willing to change. What did they do? They adopted and applied what I refer to as a “Praiser Strategy Approach”. Guess what the results were?  In a word, amazing!

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and reinvigorating teams (sports & business). What does this do for our clients? It provides them with an acceleration boost to reach their goals sooner, and interact with a renewed efficiency, focus and energy level.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Collaboration – News Flash! It’s a team sport.

If you were to take a survey and ask people to respond via yes or no if they are good at collaborating with others, most would probably answer yes. The majority of people want to see themselves as strong collaborators. However, there are factors which impede some people’s ability to either truly collaborate, or collaborate well.

One of the factors which makes collaborating difficult is that it requires people to often agree upon something. It also requires focus and letting down your guard and putting yourself into a neutral state of mind. Or at least an open state of mind. Again, this is hard to do. Now add in having to collaborate with people who you may not know, don’t like, or worse, do not respect. At least not yet.

Often people are asked to collaborate with others they would not ordinarily collaborate with. So, this further complicates the equation. In this case, think of a group of people at a company who acquired another company, and now they are being asked to work and essentially collaborate with one another.

When you think of collaborating, do any rules come to mind? Potentially, but then again, everyone might have their own interpretation of what this means. Given this reality, who will be the arbitrator in this scenario? Again, this will require the parties involved to agree to be open minded in order to give the goal of collaborating a chance.

Trust also plays a role in collaborating. The reality is that not everyone trusts each other. It takes time and experience with one another to build up trust, and certainly does not happen overnight. So, can you fast track building up trust with people you have to collaborate with? Yes, but again, all of the parties involved will have to allow themselves to be vulnerable, and this isn’t easy for most people. In fact, it can be downright scary. So now what?

Just like most situations, there isn’t one silver bullet to address and make the challenge easy. However, here are some tips on how you can build up your collaboration muscles.

  • Collaboration requires warming up and opening up your mind to jumping into actually being able to collaborate with others. So, start with an icebreaker exercise to help the group get to know one another better. It should involve helping each person to reveal something about themselves which is going to be one of their contributions to being a strong collaborator.
  • Each person in the group should give an example of a time they were involved in a successful collaboration. Keep each story to a limit of 2-4 minutes.
  • Have each person state what they envision as a positive outcome for the collaborative project they are working on with the team.
  • Mutually determine what success of the collaboration would look like. Write it down, and it’s fine if this takes some time to come up with. It’s critical to get everyone onboard with this vision and goal.
  • Define up front that everyone will be playing an equal role on the team, and agree that no idea or verbal contribution towards the goal is unacceptable.
  • Ask each person on the team to define what their superpower is. Draw upon their superpower during each of your collaboration gatherings. The point is to focus on each person’s strength, and this helps to level set the collaboration playing field.
  • Agree to have fun collaborating. When you establish this as one of your ground rules, it makes getting to the end goal much easier, and who doesn’t want to have a little fun when they are working on a project?
  • Appoint the person who aligns with being an idea generator to capture your team’s verbal contributions when you are brainstorming during each of your meetings. Also consider brainstorming during each meeting, either to solve a challenge, or to have all team members participating fully. Ensure that everyone is able to contribute to each session.
  • Make sure your collaboration team has an opportunity to spend time with one another doing something unrelated to their project. This could mean doing something as simple as asking them to get together to take five minutes to talk about a talent or hobby, or something they do outside of work which they love doing. Sharing this information helps the team to get to know one another, and this helps to increase trust, as it is easier to develop this when you know more good things about a person.

Since there isn’t a perfectly developed formula for ideal collaboration, you will have to accept that you will need to do your best as a contributor to the team at all times. Yes, some days this might be more difficult to do than other times, but then again, others on the team will help to compensate for you not bringing your “A” game that day. My last point is to embrace that collaboration is what generally leads to exceptional outcomes when we work well together. Isn’t that why we collaborate in the first place? As I said earlier, collaboration is a team sport.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Our expertise is in uniting and bridging teams (sports & business). What does this do for our clients? It provides them with an acceleration boost to reach their goals sooner, and interact with a renewed efficiency, focus and energy level.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.