‘I wish my boss would just listen to me!’
A common cry amongst frustrated employees. A common mistake amongst managers.
So, how do you get the manager who either thinks she is always right (or believes she should be) to listen to you?
1. Grab their attention!
If you have ever half listened to a conversation you will know that you listen better when something interesting is said. So the next time you want your boss to listen, ask yourself, ‘How can I say it in a way that is interesting to THEM?’
Consider what’s important to them in terms of the main objectives they are measured (and paid) against. Then when you want them to listen, link your ideas and proposals to these key result areas and how you and your idea can help your manager achieve them.
2. Consider how they prefer to receive information?
Some people want the general concept whilst others NEED the detail. Many managers will lose interest if you speak for more than two minutes, so remember KISS – Keep It Short & Snappy! Others only want it in writing to consider it when they are ready.
Also consider the best time of day for approaching your boss. One of my colleagues used to work for a manager who was more likely to listen or sign off proposals after lunch … and after his customary visit to the pub with clients!
3. Ask your manager for her opinion
Managers who like to be right usually like it if you ask them what they think. Be ready to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the options And remember to link these back to their objectives as discussed above.
4. Make it easy for them to respond to an e-mail
Managers are busy people. If you e-mail your manager for the answer to a particular question, then make it easy for them to make a quick reply. If possible enable them to choose the option as described above. For example ask them to type YES against the option they prefer. If they have to think for too long or take too long to write a reply, they might postpone it or never reply at all!
5. Speak your manager’s language!
Listen to the words they use and replay these and similar words back to them. For example people who are visually orientated use words like ‘see, picture, view’. Those people who are more auditory say words ‘hear, sound and ‘said to myself’. Another group of people often known as ‘kinaesthetic’ who focus on their feelings often use expressions such as ‘feel, sense, touch’. Listening to your manager (and they way they speak) will help them to listen to you too!
Have a go and see the results for yourself.
Senior Management Trainer & Consultant at MTD Training
(Image by Digital Art at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)