How to speak and work with your boss whilst still being a great leader – here is my favourite story and tips. I remember years ago when my boss asked me if I knew much about Leadership and whether I could coach and teach people on engineering and construction sites about Leadership. I totally faked it and said YES ABSOLUTELY! Then I raced home and bought every book I could on Leadership on Amazon (you should see my library after 15 years). And I did it.
This is how LeadershipHQ and Sonia McDonald Inc. came to life as I didn’t say no I can’t to my boss. It took a lot of courage as I was truly scared sh*tless but I looked fear in the face and said I have got this. I wanted to challenge myself. This is just one of many stories I could share and there have been plenty of times I didn’t get it right whilst speaking to my boss.
Thing is, effectively communicating with your boss is an essential skill to have in the workplace, especially when you’re in a leadership role. There are a right way and a wrong way to talk to your boss; it’s not like talking to a regular colleague and you must keep that in mind with every interaction you have with your higher-ups.
Here are some examples of what to avoid when you’re speaking with your boss:
Telling them “I can’t”
If you’re saying this, you will come off as unwilling and lacking confidence. Your management won’t appreciate this lack of flexibility or your negative attitude. Look at it as an opportunity or a challenge and if you are a little unsure but open about it and ask for help.
Don’t put down your colleagues
While we want to let our bosses know that we’re valuable to the company so that they consider us for opportunities in the future, but don’t minimise what your team did to make yourself look better, or even worse, take credit for what they did. This shows your boss that you’re not a team player and makes you look very unprofessional.
If you’re wanting to talk about issues with a colleague, that’s a different story, but still requires the utmost professionalism in your approach.
Saying that something isn’t in your job description
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should use a piece of machinery when you’re actually in accounting, just because your boss tells you to, but use common sense.
Bosses appreciate flexibility in their team, and getting more skills and experience in different roles will make you even more valuable to the company.
Don’t be too humble
Learning how to accept praise from management (or anyone!) is hard to do, and a lot of us try and deflect the compliments onto others, minimising our own achievements for fear of coming off as arrogant. But you also don’t want to appear to be taking all the credit either. So what’s the middle ground?
Acknowledge what you accomplished, give credit where it’s due and don’t brush off the praise you receive. This takes courage and it really important. This way you show that you work well in a team, and are professional.
While saying ‘no’ can be needed at times, you need to be polite and professional and remember that you’re expected to be as cooperative as possible when your boss asks you to do something. If you need to say no to something, try and phrase it in a way that explains your refusal, like mentioning another deadline you have and asking if your focus should change from that.
Being mindful of how you talk to and interact with your boss will help you greatly in your career. It’s important to have a positive relationship with all co-workers, including those higher up than you.
Looking at being a Great Leader find out more about our incredible leadership programs and leadership workshops plus online courses at https://www.soniamcdonald.com.au/
I am so grateful for Sonia for the learning I have had from her and Sonia Inc. The sessions have created influential results in my leadership, and I am more confident in my style and approach to leading. I shared my vision with Sonia and she has coached me on how to successfully execute that vision. After working with Sonia over the past 4 months, my leadership skills have grown tremendously. I am more confident, knowledgeable and passionate about everything I do. I now look forward to what my future will bring.
Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.
For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader.
Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognised as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations. She is known as one of Australia’s Leading Keynote Speakers and Facilitators in Leadership.
She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.
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