(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.

Gen X & Millennials. Are you reverse mentoring?

So, who’s your reverse mentor? What? You don’t have one? Why not? Don’t worry, there are plenty to choose from, and I’m sure your soon to be reverse mentor is going to be thrilled to help you out.

I’m a firm believer in the concept that everyone needs a coach. I have at least half a dozen of them, some are formal ones, and the rest are ones who I rely upon in situational circumstances. Kind of like on-demand coaches.

Just about everyone has something to offer other people, and Gen X and Millennials are well positioned to play the part of being a reverse mentor. The biggest reason is that they are far more comfortable with most technology than the Baby Boomer generation which did not grow up with some type of electronic device in their hands.

Gen X and Millennials comfort level with learning about technology is second nature to them. I’m not saying that all Baby Boomers are technology challenged, but most will acknowledge their technology mastering learning curve is likely steeper than the other generations.

Some Baby Boomers may have in fact limited their technology savviness to learning only the basics. That’s OK, but since there is so much to learn about various types of technology, it can’t hurt to learn more. Especially when you can have someone show you how to do something. From my perspective, experiential and hands-on learning is one of the best ways to learn.

Social media is certainly one of the technology areas that can be both a blessing and a curse. When I was recently asked if I thought social media was a good thing, I said there are more cons than pros from the perspective of how it doesn’t always represent reality. However, the upside is that it can link people together who might not otherwise have an opportunity to interact outside of their immediate social circle.

Businesses have benefitted enormously from social media, especially smaller ones, as it has in many ways leveled the competitive playing field for them. Competing with larger companies can still be a challenge, but the small to mid-size companies have a stronger chance of competing due to the affordability aspect of social media.

Now, let’s get back to the concept of why you should be either searching for a reverse mentor, or looking to be one for someone who could utilize your help. If you are searching for a reverse mentor, here are some tips on how to find one.

  • The reverse mentor is comfortable having a conversation beyond the digital world they are often communicating in.
  • Many marketing and sales people are very savvy social media practitioners, and often they have to be as part of their job responsibilities. So, Gen X and Millennials in these roles would be a good place to start your search.
  • Considering having reverse mentors from multiple generations also makes sense, as they are going to have different perspectives and knowledge relating to both technology, and viewpoints on other numerous topics (e.g., what motivates people in their generation, culture).
  • If you have a Human Resource department, ask your contact who they would recommend as a reverse mentor. Perhaps you might be a trendsetter in your office with this request!
  • Talk to your friends about whether they know a Gen X or Millennial they would recommend.
  • If you have a Gen X or Millennial in your family, ask them who they would consider as a pairing for you, or perhaps its them who could mentor you.

Of course, Gen X and Millennials have lots more to offer than their technology prowess, so start leveraging their skills and strengths. I guarantee you will have a new perspective on their generation after engaging with them in a reverse mentoring scenario. Most importantly, have fun with this experience, and be open to learning more than you could imagine.

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.

 

Were you really listening? Things you don’t hear, but should.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

How many times have you caught yourself half listening to the person you are speaking to? We are all guilty of this, but should be working on becoming better listeners with every conversation we are engaged in. Have you ever considered how much information you might be missing when you are only semi listening? When you are actively listening and fully engaged in the conversation, you will be amazed at how much satisfaction you can gain from the conversation.

A friend of mine told me a heartwarming story last week about a conversation he had with one of his patients a few years ago. The woman was receiving physical therapy to relieve chronic pain she was experiencing, and she was in the final stage of her life. Despite the pain she was in, she was the type of person who was always thinking of others, especially her family. During one of her sessions with my friend, she conversationally revealed a wish she had for her son to be fulfilled. Her son had been a hockey player all his life, and when he went through a divorce, his ex-wife got rid of all of his hockey equipment. He was a goalie, so the hockey equipment was very expensive. Playing hockey brought joy to his life, but when his equipment had been given away, he stopped playing the game and became very sad.

The woman passed away, but my friend remembered her story because he was actively engaged and listening to her. Within a year of her death, my friend who is also a hockey player, remembered his clients dying wish of having her son getting back into playing hockey again. My friend never forgot this conversation and thought about how he could do something about what he had heard. He ended up obtaining some used goalie hockey equipment and put it into a bag. He then found out where the son of the woman lived, and one day he showed up on his front doorstep with a bag full of goalie hockey equipment. The son could not believe a total stranger had done this for him, and was overwhelmed with emotion. My friend and this total stranger became very close friends. This friendship developed out of my friend’s ability to truly listen, and to go beyond listening and compassionately and actively do something with the information he heard. Since the day the man received the goalie equipment, he has been playing and enjoying his love of hockey once again.

What if there were more people like my friend who really listened and followed through with what they heard? We all have the capacity to do this, and do this well. In the business world and numerous other industries, it is imperative to our success we become skilled listeners. Although it may seem like an easy thing to do, listening and doing it well takes practice and dedication. We live in a world of constant distraction, and endless interruptions, so having focused conversations can be challenging. However, being focused during your conversation is imperative, and when you are, the end results can be as rewarding as the story about my friend and the stranger he gave the goalie hockey equipment to.

One trick I utilize when I am listening to people is to take notes. It is not always possible to do this, but when I can do it, being able to refer back to my notes from the conversation is remarkable, as it allows me to think through what was being said from a different dimension, and most times to come up with a better outcome or result from the conversation. Most business or conversations in general are a way to convey information, and often a way to figure out a solution to either a problem or a challenge the person is having. All of us have the ability to solve challenges, and we can solve them much better if we are actively engaged in the conversation. So, the next time you are in a conversation, take a moment to consider whether you are fully listening. If you are not, refocus your attention and know that when you do this, each party in the conversation will significantly benefit from the engagement.

This article is dedicated to Doug Kennedy.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

 

 

 

Articulating Your Value Proposition. Yes, You Have One.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

No matter who you are, what industry you work in, or if you are starting out in your career, or have worked in your respective line of work for more than twenty years, everyone should be able to articulate their Value Proposition. Another common term associated with this is called “Elevator Pitch”. Both can be utilized personally or professionally, and in the interest of this blog, I am focusing on the development of your personal Value Proposition, and why you should create one.

The first reason you should create one is to be able to verbally showcase your talents when anyone asks, so “What do you do?” Even if they are not entirely interested in hearing what you have to say, or are simply asking to be polite, you never know if what you are conveying to the person you are speaking with might be giving you an opportunity personally or professionally you never imagined. For example, let’s say you are at your friend’s graduation party and are speaking with another guest. The two of you have at least one person in common; the graduate, and the person you are speaking with happens to be at a “hot” start-up who is hiring 100 people this year. After hearing your “Value Proposition”, the other guest asks if you are interested in learning more about the company they are working at, as your background sounded perfectly aligned to several of the open positions they are trying to fill. This type of interaction happens all of the time, but too often, people are not prepared to take advantage of the opportunity because they have not created their Value Proposition to share with others.

The second reason to create your personal Value Proposition is to be able to readily converse with others on a general conversation topic relating to how you spend your time and energy. Granted you might not be doing exactly your dream job right now, but perhaps you are working towards developing the skills to go after your ideal career role? Your personal Value Proposition would revolve around describing this, and the people you meet might in fact be able to help you get one step closer to your ideal dream job or the company you desire to work at. People in general like to help other people, especially when they come across as being open to assistance, and the desire to meet and network with others who can potentially help them pursue the new direction they working towards going.

The final reason to craft your personal Value Proposition is to share with others your own story and journey related to where you are personally or professionally. One of my blog articles titled “Are You Curious Enough?”,  poses this question. By nature, most people are curious, but some are more than others, and even if the person you are speaking with is only mildly curious, they will still be interested in hearing your Value Proposition. Think of your Value Proposition also as a way to establish a personal connection with the person you are conversing with, and by all means, make sure you ask them to tell you about their personal Value Proposition, but you do not have to refer to it using these works. As a matter of fact, I do not recommend it. Instead, simply ask them how they spend their time and energy, or what keeps their interest and attention during the day. You might be pleasantly surprised by what they tell you.

Since you now know why you should have your own Value Proposition, here is a link to a document, I found which will provide you with the structure needed to get started on developing and crafting your Value Proposition. I promise you this document will navigate you easily via the process of crafting your Value Proposition, and offer details which will result in the development of your personal Value Proposition. After you have crafted your Value Proposition, I would love to read it, so please share it with me at kathymurphy@me.com . I’ll be happy to reciprocate.

This blog is dedicated to anyone who has already developed their personal Value Proposition, and also to those who are inspired to create their own Value Proposition after reading this article.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Persistence is a Super Power. Got it?

 

A quality I have often admired in others is their persistence, and their ability to apply their persistence and focus both at work, and outside of work. People who are persistent seemingly have a plan, and they typically execute on the plan and get results. Do you know someone like this? Is this one of your “super power” traits, or do you wish you were more persistent?

Perhaps being a persistent type of person is an innate quality, or is it one which can be developed? It is also possible to perhaps be more persistent is some situations than others, as you could be more motivated to persist towards a particular goal (e.g., getting in shape for the summer, going after a promotion at work, organizing and cleaning your home for a party you are having this weekend). Naturally I did some research on whether there was an approach anyone could take to become more persistent, and of course, I found a wealth of examples on how to do so. The article I liked best was written by Lou Macabasco and is called 6 Effective Ways to Become Persistent. As the article is titled, it provides you with a simple breakdown of steps you can take to become more persistent. The benefits of becoming a more persistent person certainly outweigh any negative consequences, and anyone who knows me, knows this for a fact, as I practice being focused and persistent every day.

One of my future blog articles which ties well into the topic of persistence will be focused on thinking through the process of plotting your career strategy and mapping it out. The other part of this article will focus on having an “end game, and goals to work towards.” By leveraging the six steps involved with how to become more persistent, you can develop the framework or foundation for your future career goals. A long-time and close friend of mine, Carol Agranat is a professional career coach at Career Mapping Solutions, and I guarantee you she works with all her clients on first developing what her clients “end game”, or goal is for the type of career they desire to have. In my opinion, the most interesting part of Carol’s job is that she works with people who are on the entire career spectrum (e.g., recent college graduates, mid-career professionals and people who want to switch careers or re-enter into the work force). The common thread for all of her clients is their desire to move onto the next level of their career, and doing this will require them to be persistent in their pursuit of doing so.

Although I have not confirmed this, I can imagine the most satisfying part of Carol’s job is helping people create a pathway towards their professional goals, and seeing them achieve them. Having been a lacrosse player and lacrosse coach for a number of years, as well as a professional motivational coach for executives as well as people at various stages of their career, there is almost nothing more gratifying in helping someone else or a team achieve what they may not have thought was possible. One of my secrets in helping people to achieve what they set out to achieve, is working with them to have them believe they can accomplish their goal or goals. By breaking down the steps of reaching their goals, similar to the steps outlined in the article 6 Effective Ways to Become Persistent, I know for a fact achieving what you set out to achieve is entirely possible. If you do not believe in yourself, find someone who does, as they can make all the difference in your life in helping you to be persistent to get you to where you want to be either professionally or personally.

This blog is dedicated to Carol Agranat who I have known for well over 30 years, and who is one of the most courageous and genuinely passionate people about helping others to succeed. Thank you for your friendship Carol, and may you continue to do amazingly work with others.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.