Talane Miedaner (F’87, MA’89), is the author of the internationally best-selling book Coach Yourself to Success: 101 Tips to Accomplish your Personal and Professional Goals, along with The Secret Laws of Attraction, and Coach Yourself to a New Career. She is also the creator of the Career Change Coaching Kit, and is the owner and founder of LifeCoach.
How to Make Your Boss Happy and Get What You Need at Work
A common mistake many employees make is giving their manager an almost parental authority over them and as a result, they end up feeling helpless or unable to confront their boss because they are too afraid. “What if I speak up and then get fired as a result?” This is a real risk! So, it is vital that you speak up in a respectful manner, using the graceful Four Step Communication Model I share in this video…
The Four Step Communication Model begins with setting firm and clear boundaries by informing. All great relationships are founded on mutual respect and boundaries are the foundation of respect. You will not get the respect you deserve if you have weak or missing boundaries. You mustn’t let your boss take advantage of you. The steps following informing are requesting, demanding, and leaving. Watch the video for an example of how to gracefully confront a boss who calls or emails you in evening hours or weekends. Unless your job is to be an emergency responder, you must set in place boundaries to protect your personal time. It isn’t okay that you get work calls or meetings on weekends unless that was part of your job description up front. If you act like a doormat, people will walk all over you. And, no one ever promotes someone they don’t respect, so don’t make the mistake of thinking you can’t have boundaries at work. Boundaries are critical to your success.
Abraham Maslow outlined the basic hierarchy of personal growth and development with his pyramid of needs: survival needs come first, then personal and emotional needs come second, with the ultimate goal of reaching the apex by fully expressing our values and regularly having peak experiences. When coaching executives, we work on identifying and then fulfilling their personal and emotional needs. We all instinctively know that neediness is unattractive so by getting your needs fulfilled you automatically become more attractive to those around you, both at work and at home. Ideally, you’ll get friends and family to fulfil your personal and emotional needs so that you appear less needy at work.
Once you get your needs fulfilled, you’ll find it is easier to be professional at work because you’ll take things less personally. It will be easier to accept feedback without getting upset if your needs are satisfied. Needs are much more important than most people realize and can even affect your performance. A journalist hired me for coaching as she feared she was about to lose her job. For whatever reason, she was struggling to concentrate and wasn’t producing her best work, but she didn’t know what to do to turn the situation around. I had her take the Emotional Index Quiz and saw that peace was one of her top four needs. She realized that this was the problem –ever since they had converted to an open office floor plan, she hadn’t been able to focus –there was simply too much noise and too many interruptions. Ironically, the manager decided to go open plan to foster communication and the sharing of ideas. She hadn’t realized how essential it was for her to get this need for peace met in order to write well. She asked her boss if she could work out of a local coffee shop, in the conference room or from home on occasion. This did the trick, her writing improved and she saved her job.
Another common need that can create trouble at work is the need for freedom and independence. If this is one of your needs, you won’t enjoy working for a micromanaging or controlling boss. I share how you can address this problem in this video blog session. If you have a controlling boss the secret is to satisfy your boss’s needs to the point that they disappear. Needs go away when fulfilled. All human beings have needs, yes, even your boss. As you get smarter about your own needs it will be easier to recognize and satisfy other’s needs. And a happy boss is a much better boss to work for!
If you are curious to learn what your own top four personal and emotional needs might be, you can take the free Emotional Index Quiz. Remember, needs and boundaries go hand in hand. You must have clear and firm boundaries to give your needs a chance to be satisfied. Without boundaries your needs don’t have a chance. Take for example, the need to be appreciated. If you allow people to give you unsolicited criticism, you might feel very unappreciated at work. You will need to put in place the boundary that people can’t criticize you unless you ask for feedback — yes, even your own boss. You might have to carefully manage up in this case and say something along the lines of: “Tell me how I could have improved upon this project?” and “Tell me what you liked about this project.” Make sure you get some positive feedback along with the negative so that your boss sees you are keen to improve, but also recognizes the good work you are doing.