Career Advice: How to Communicate with Your Boss’s Boss



You can improve your career prospects by maximizing your communications with your boss’s boss — if you respect the process.

Not only will such opportunities optimize your prospects, they will give you a broader perspective about upper management’s concerns and insights.

It’s helpful to know what your bosses read. That’d be a huge advantage over peers with whom you are competing for a promotion.

ID-10077665 stockimagesBefore we discuss the dos and don’ts, be careful. Don’t give even the slightest hint or appearance of going over your boss’s head.

If you do, you will alienate your boss.

What’s more, if your boss’s boss has any sense of decorum, such a manager will become distant and you’ll be stigmatized – marked as a difficult employee – possibly, in your career for years to come.

That’s right, it will hurt your situation in your company, and savvy head hunters and employers will probably find out.

They will be apprehensive about taking a chance on hiring you. Besides, following protocol is the right thing to do.

Now that we’ve discussed an important cautionary note, we can consider the dos and don’ts.

Dos:

  1. Do have a sense of timing. Yes, be enthusiastic, but be sophisticated in your approach. Be strategic – know when to act or talk.
  2. Do look for opportunities to get the manager’s attention. You can send a congratulatory note when the person has a noteworthy success. If you have a staff meeting with the manager present, follow up with a germane news article. Use such occasions to ask questions – if the manager is the logical person. You never know when you might have a chance meeting. If appropriate, use the top 11 tips for a great elevator pitch.
  3. Do deliver strong results in your work. Develop a reputation for being your department’s go-to person, who can keep confidences. If you get a great compliment from a peer or customer, look for an opportunity to suggest that the person send a comment to your boss, who will most likely share it within the company. Usually, such compliments will make your immediate supervisor proud. (Be prepared for good things to result– be aware of proven strategies to advance into management.)
  4. Do volunteer for projects outside your realm of responsibilities. Market yourself by increasing your exposure inside and outside the company. Join associations pertinent to your company’s mission. Do charitable work. (If you’re honored for your efforts, here are public speaking tips – for speeches in accepting awards and honors.) 

Don’t give even the slightest hint or appearance of going over your boss’s head.

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t commit a faux pas. It’s not only a matter of what you do; it’s how you do it – with style.
  2. Don’t be aggressive. Know the difference between being aggressive vis-à-vis being assertive. If you are aggressive, you will unknowingly be giving away your power.
  3. Don’t ignore opportunities to demonstrate your abilities and aptitude for teamwork. When necessary, choose to agree with others but maintain your composure and look for opportunities to compromise. You want to be known as being flexible.
  4. Don’t forget to be patient. Listen. Dealing with others requires knowing the art of persuasion, which is a process of give-and-take. Ask open-ended questions. The most persuasive people listen 90 percent in each conversation.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are strategies for related sensitive issues:

Nervous About Your New Boss? Here’s How to Deal with It — Whether you just got a new job or whether your company just assigned a new boss for you, it might seem hard to deal with it. But deal with it you must. Learn to develop poise and to manage your boss.

6 Tips for Baby Boomers to Cope with a Younger Boss — If you’re a gainfully employed baby boomer, please accept my congratulations on your good fortune. However, many boomers are saddled with a boss who is a young, less-experienced Millennial. That can be hard to take but it doesn’t have to be.

Do You Have A Toxic Relationship With Your Boss? —  This may be the 21st century with a cornucopia of management textbooks for bosses, but a significant number of employees still complain about their supervisors lacking in professionalism. That’s according to a study by Wayne Hochwarter, a professor in management at Florida State University.

8 Tips on How to Ask Your Boss for a Pay Raise — Your food, gas and other living costs have increased. But you need tips on how to ask your boss for a pay raise.  You’re mindful about the economy and that unemployment rates are high. With the exception of Wall Street, payroll budgets are constricted everywhere. But you haven’t had a raise recently.

7 Tips for a Young Professional to Become a CEO — For a professional to jump to the senior-management level in the 21st century, it’s imperative to demonstrate seven core competencies. Consider them part of your personal branding for success.

“Throughout my career, if I have done anything, I have paid attention to every note and every word I sing – if I respect the song. If I cannot project this to a listener, I fail.”

-Frank Sinatra


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.