Monday, January 5, 2009

Managing Your Boss: Give Him Options

Or in my case, give her options.  This is a standard bit of advice I give people when it comes to their boss. Whenever my boss asks me for advice, I always make sure to give her my recommendation along with a few more options for her to consider.  Just this past week, I gave her a list of ideas about how I would go about changing the tech org.  I did not think all of them were great ideas (one of them even suggested she should let me go) but I wanted to let her know that I completely thought through the problem.  I provided the pros and cons of each of the options, and then let her make the final decision.  In this case and others, if I have done my job correctly, she will just go with my recommendation.  As a manager myself, this is what I generally do.  I will almost always go with the recommendation of those that work for me.  If I did not trust them to make good decisions, I would have some other issues to deal with.

While seemingly obvious, not everybody really understands why this is so important.  People generally move up the professional ladder because they are good at making decisions.  Your boss is probably no exception.  What you are doing when you come to your boss with options is giving them a chance to flex what I am sure they consider to be one of her strengths.  Your boss probably does not have all the answers and will appreciate it if you lay down all the available options to her so she can make an informed decision. If you only give her one option, it puts her in a bad position and does not give her a chance to feel totally behind the directive.

Further, taking the time to actually think through all the options and presenting them to your boss shows that you have fully considered all the options.  So long as you come up with a good recommendation and thoughtful options, it should hopefully instill some confidence in your boss that you are capable of making your own decisions.  In time, your boss will come to learn, by seeing the thought you put in your recommendation, that you are capable of making your own decisions.  She will trust you more. She will come to your more often for advice because she will know you will completely think through the problem.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. In general people like to have choices. Give them a few and lay out the pros and cons. The more information you give them the more confident they will feel about their choice. They will appreciate your thorough assessment.