The key to a great working relationship with your manager

How successful is your relationship with your manager? And How productive are your conversations? Are your one-on-ones focused on issues? Coaching? Advice? Problem solving? Are you getting what you want from these meetings, or do you have the sense there is something more important you could be discussing?

A key to having a powerful and positive relationship with your manager is to email a weekly report. This weekly report has four elements:

  • 4 – 5 Highlights and successes of the week
  • Risks and alerts, and action you are taking
  • Your focus for next week
  • Conclude with ‘please ask me any questions’

This report can be written in 10 minutes by Friday midday and serves several function

  • You step back from the day to day and gain a sense of your achievements of the week
  • Over time you gain a strong sense of your progress and results
  • Your manager
  • can immediately see your progress on key areas of work
  • is well informed of what is happening in your area
  • gains confidence in you to keep him/her well informed
  • can see where further context assists in any changes in direction

Your manager being well informed enables you both to focus on the real matters in hand in your one-on-ones; seeking advice you want, providing a sensitive alert, or asking for help. Make your one-on-ones more satisfying for you and your manager.

Don’t expect a response
I coach leaders not to expect any response to this report. This is your role to keep your manager well informed of progress and risks. What would you want to hear anyway?

This weekly report enhances the confidence your manager has in you. Be confident your manager is both well informed and relieved with what you are achieving. He or she can then identify the areas he/she wants to discuss with you, give direction or guide you. Conversations with your manager can focus on matters to progress the business and clarifying expectations. These conversations are the most satisfying.

The key challenge many have in writing this report is to report successes not activities.

Here are two examples:

  • The new manufacturing manager began this week. (Activity)
  • With the manufacturing manager underway this week, I’m confident staff absenteeism will drop this month. (alert/report against Key Accountability.)
  • Wednesday’s team strategy session went well. (Activity)The relationship glitches are resolved. Our team has regrouped around portfolios, agreed our approach to the priorities and established key contacts for internal clients. (Results)

The confidence your manager has in you is in your hands. This simple 10 minute discipline has the power to produce a powerful positive relationship between you and your manager focused on the things that matter.