It was one of the sincere and talented young professionals in his world, asking him to get on board with their latest idea.
It’s a blunder I’ve made repeatedly myself over the years — putting my visionary ideas, plans, and hopes out to my boss thinking, hoping, praying he’d get behind it.
Instead, he would nod kindly, act like he was listening, maybe he was listening, then back to business as usual, while I worked on and on wondering why he was doing nothing about my dream.
I’m not sure when or how the nickel finally dropped, but over the years I finally clued in and got it. I finally understood THE secret to getting my bosses on board with MY agenda. Are you ready? Here it is….I got behind THEIR’s.
Sounds so simple right? Kind of like, “Really, are you kidding me, that’s it?”
Yes, it is. So simple most of us breeze right on by and fail at it time and again. So why and how does something this simple really work?
It works because everyone in leadership has an agenda, something that matters to them personally, intensely, with pressures to reach certain objectives and goals. And what they (we) really want, is someone who will spend their hours and mindshare helping US figure out how to do it.
When someone on my team really makes it about my primary objectives, then, THEN, I’ll move mountains to get them what they want and need.
These are the crucial questions…
- What does my boss REALLY want?
- What is his/her best measure of personal success?
- What keeps her up at night?
- What win would make him over-the-top happy?
Sometimes it’s success on a project, or maybe a certain recognition from her own higher-ups. In some cases it’s a mixture of things not easy to decipher. But as I have pondered, insights come.
Then, instead of being preoccupied about my next move or growing discontentment, I’m discussing my boss’ priorities and he’s all ears. I find interesting articles about her interests and she’s impressed and even amazed by my attention, care and acumen toward making her look better and smarter.
And sure enough, not long after my efforts, in EVERY single case, each of these bosses started proactively talking to me about my dreams. They paid attention, paid me more, paid a price for my advancement by letting me move to other areas of the company in order to get what I really wanted.
No surprise this practice has become my mantra over the last 15 years. As a speaker, leader, wife, mom, boss, and friend, I don’t just do it up the chain, I do it downward too. Not always perfectly, and not always often enough, but always top-of-mind and heart in a sincere effort to help others get what they want and need.
So who do you work for? Maybe not the person officially your boss, but even your client, or your spouse. What is their definition of success and how can YOU help them get there faster, better, with greater joy?
Give it a try like a secret experiment and see what happens. My experience promises you’ll end up right where you hope and dream of going, with greater reward and recognition every time.