It’s probably true that many employees have a love/hate relationship with their boss. The politics of employer and worker may make the relationship tricky to navigate. For employees, it may be tough to get a boss to even listen to ideas, let along support them. While the standard response may be, “It’s not a priority right now,” there are some tricks to help persuade your boss to support an idea or a recommendation. Here’s what you need to know:
First, Think Like a Boss
Employees broaching a touchy recommendation with their boss should first consider the initiative from the perspective of their manager. People at the top often have a variety of pressures and requirements that may keep them from giving you their full attention. These managers must see the entire picture, which means that:
- There may be competing projects and too few resources. While the average employee may not understand this, the average boss does. Consider this when making a request. It may be turned down of because the request itself, but because of external factors or competing priorities.
- Along the same lines, your timing could be off. Your boss could have had multiple people suggesting initiatives this week. If that was the case, your employer could tell you to “get in line,” and disregard your request.
- What if your idea or request simply doesn’t fit the organization’s overarching strategic objectives? This means your boss will have a hard time selling it up the chain of command.
- Or, the boss could be simply too busy putting out fires to even respond.
These are some of the real underlying factors that could be affecting your ability to have your initiative heard. How can you continue pushing your ideas forward, even when your boss is giving you pushback?
Getting to the “Yes”
There are a few things you can do to help ensure you get support from your employer, despite these issues:
- Do the homework to understand how your ideas fit within the corporate objectives. Test out your idea by asking the boss to describe their goals. Then ask yourself where your initiative fits within that framework.
- Plan your case thoroughly. Make sure the approach solves a well-worn problem with clear ROI. Pitch your idea in the context of a problem solved with an impact plan and some estimated numbers on improved efficiency.
- Layer in any indirect benefits to make your case stronger. Use these benefits to counteract any doubts and pre-plan your responses with these points.
- Time your approach thoughtfully because timing really is everything when it comes to your boss.
- Sell the idea like a sales person would, thinking of your approach in terms of a sales pitch, counteracting any objections and closing the deal.
Management means allocating resources in the most appropriate ways. Your goal is to show your boss how your idea fits their goals and positively impacts the corporate strategies and goals. If you can do this, the chances are high that you’ll succeed in convincing management to agree with your approach.
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