Does your boss know your job?

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in Dealing with Bosses,Office Management

Do you ever feel that your boss doesn't seem to understand what you're up against, all the demands that are made on you, and the impossibility of doing everything well all the time? Here's a strategy that can bridge this gap in understanding:

"The most important things I do." Create a simple form--or just use a blank sheet of paper--with the heading "The Five Most Important Things I Do" and your name. Make several copies. Fill one out, ask your boss to fill one out, and ask one or more of your employees to do the same, making clear that these are the most important things you do, not them. Don't share your list until after you've received theirs.

Notice the differences. Make an appointment with your boss to discuss the differences between your assessment and hers. Even in efficiently managed organizations, managers at different levels will disagree on this subject. What you think are the most important parts of your job may not show up at all on your boss's list, or they may show up in a different order.

Plan a course of action. Here arises a question: Do you change your approach to match your boss's perceptions, or do you try to change her mind? That's where the feedback you got from your own employees can be instructive. If you, your boss and your team members all agree that a particular task is important, you should keep doing it. If your employees agree with your boss, but not with you, on the best use of your time and energy, then that's a powerful indicator for change.

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