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Monday, February 18, 2013

5 Tips on being more than a YES man or woman

I am not going to do that!

Fear of losing a job makes people less than honest in the workplace.  This is especially true when it comes to providing negative feedback to or following directives from the boss.  Bosses can be difficult at times.  Informing them that they are wrong may rub them the wrong way: especially when it happens repeatedly or in front of others.  The question employees must examine is whether they are giving their best performance at work when they are not alerting the boss there may be a better way or of impending mistakes.

Many people are terrified just speaking to the boss.  Bosses are people and they make mistakes just as anyone can.  Developing a relationship with the boss can be more than agreeing with everything that said or requested.  Clearly, you must do what the boss requires as long as it is legal and ethical.  However, there are ways you can approach the boss and provide more value to the workplace. 

Keep in mind that the boss usually wants to do the best possible for the business.  They do not want big errors that cost time and money for the company.  Bosses look for promotions just like the employees and they the same desires as anyone else.  The following are some ideas on being more than a YES person, when you should be saying something else.

1.      Develop a relationship:  Learning to interact with the boss without fear requires development of a relationship of some type. It is not necessary to be best friends, but you do need to be able to speak frankly, when needed.  Learn to recognize what the boss needs and when needed.   Make an effort to help meet timings and milestones.  Understand the job and determine what it takes to be an excellent performer.  Bosses tend to listen to those that are their best performers.

2.      Improve on ideas:  Knowing the business enhances your chances of seeing ways to make improvements.  Bosses like ideas that make things better, cheaper, or bring more harmony to the work environment.  Such ideas tend to be better accepted.  When the boss provides something less than a perfect plan, you may see ways to make the plan better.  Improving on the boss’s idea may be a way to improve on your easiness of speaking frankly.  Yes, the boss likely will get the credit, but who gets credit should not be your goal.

3.      Do it in private:  It is generally better to approach someone in private to discuss a way to enhance or improve a situation at work.  No one likes being corrected in public, especially the boss.  Offering the suggested changes in private may allow you to expand and explain the situation and make it clear.  In fact, make an appointment or determine ask how much time the boss has before starting.  You want to make your point but not in a rushed manner.  You want the boss to listen and focus on what you are saying with as few interruptions as possible.

4.      Do it politely:  The boss is the boss.  Being argumentative or ugly rarely works and just causes people to tune out.  Show respect for the person in charge and demonstrate that you offer the suggestions to improve on the business or prevent a serious issue down the road.  Present your case carefully and in a well thought out manner.  Limit the number of visits to those that you believe are most important to alter a path or decision.  Constant nagging tends to be a turnoff!

5.      In the end, do what the boss says:  You have offered all the arguments and suggested changes.  You have done so in a professional manner.  You may not understand the rationale, but you do need to do what the boss finally decides.  This helps the person understand that they can count on you in different situations.  In time, it may help the boss become more attentive to what you offer.