February 12, 2019

Your Manager & the Importance of Intent

The relationship with your boss is crucial.  Not having intent around every interaction is a wasted opportunity (and could create disengagement quickly).

You’ve heard it over-and-over again – “The Manager relationship is crucial to a successful professional experience.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Of the thousands of clients I’ve worked with, the overwhelming majority of individuals come to me because they either feel “stuck” in their current gig or have a crappy manager (or both).

The great thing I tell clients who come to me looking for help – you can control both! There is a path forward; however, you’re going to need to step-up and do the work.

This month I’m focusing on intent. 

I provided some early resources on this topic last week to get you thinking.  This week, I’m examining how intent should show-up in that crucial manager relationship.  Having intent in every interaction can make-or-break this partnership.  Here are some situations to put this in practice with your manager:

Early interactions with a new boss:  Whether you’re new to an organization or just experienced a re-org, the first interactions with a new manager is critical.  You want to be very deliberate in telling your “Professional Story” to that individual as they’re probably thinking “How can we maximize the impact of this individual??”  Having intent around communicating your experience, strengths, growth areas, and interests is important.  What I usually see – people just “showing-up” to these conversations with no end-goals in mind.  Such a missed opportunity!

During crucial performance events like formal check-ins or yearly reviews: Employees need to come prepared to these formal check-ins.  As a manager, it always surprised me how little time folks spent preparing (and guiding) these conversations.  It’s not up to the manager to completely guide these meetings – the employee plays a crucial role too! Having performance talking-points ready and communicating “what’s next” needs to also come from the individual as well as the manager!

Discussing your Career Plan:  The most obvious place to demonstrate intent – communicating your Career Plan.  Coming to the conversation with your “Professional Story” as well as how you want to maximize your experience is crucial to creating employee engagement.  The employee needs to drive this discussion.  The employee needs to set the framework.  The employee needs to gather feedback.  The employee needs to define success metrics.  In my experience, bringing the manager into the Career Plan instead of asking the manager to define the Career Plan is the path to success.

After difficult (or positive) feedback:  Negative or positive feedback is a great opportunity to create a focused interaction with your manager.  I’ve found that most professionals aren’t sure what to do with negative or positive feedback. It’s either “Wow, I’m going to react and justify that negative perspective” or “Cool, thanks for that positive opinion.”  Little beyond that.  Again, I think this is a missed opportunity.  Coming to the table with specifics around what you’re going to do about that negative piece of feedback or how you plan to maximize the positive momentum you’re gaining is important.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

During every 1:1 meeting: Whether you’re meeting with your boss weekly for an hour or monthly for 30 minutes, you should be going into every interaction with specific long/short-term goals in mind, places where you need help, and defined next steps. No more showing-up with a “Hey, how’s it going?” type of approach – you need to be focused and serious and mindful around what YOU want out of the conversation … especially if you’re only meeting with your manager monthly (or less).

Getting ready for a transition:  The employee plays an active role in any team transition.  Whether you’re moving into another role, promoted to another team, or working with a different set of stakeholders, you need to demonstrate intent and have focus. Knowing specific roles/responsibilities, talking points for transition details and timing around the entire event(s) is what employees should be thinking about.  Again, you, as the individual, should work to lead these conversations!

Your homework this week:Think about the relationship between you and your manager. Are there conversations or interactions where you can have more intent in your approach?  Is there an upcoming event (Performance Review, etc) that you might be able to prepare for in a more meaningful and focused way?  Give it a try – I promise you’ll get value and results from this new approach.

Coming-up next time:  Intent is also super important on your Engaged Pursuit. Whether you’re looking for something new, about to graduate college or feeling “stuck,” having focus plays a key role when you’re looking for something new.  I’ll highlight areas where intent is crucial next time!

Here’s to your Engaged Pursuit!

Tom Perry's Signature

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