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Adjust your style–or else

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

You like to speak bluntly. By leveling with people, you find it helps you get along with them.

But what works in most cases may not appeal to everyone. Consider what happened to Mike Mears when he got a new boss.

A leadership consultant in Vienna, Va., Mears once found himself reporting to someone who disliked discussions. Whenever Mears gave a presentation to his boss, he noticed his manager didn’t seem to get it.

“Eventually, there was a threat that I’d get pulled out of my job,” says Mears, author of Leadership Elements. “My boss’s deputy warned me that my boss no longer wanted me speaking at any meetings.”

Mears sought advice from peers who had more experience reporting to the same manager. They told him to change his style. Instead of relying on the spoken word when briefing the boss, they suggested that Mears use fact-filled slides.

“So I started preparing PowerPoints and my boss was happy,” he says. “I learned that my boss really preferred to look at slides during a presentation.”

Once Mears understood how to convey information to his boss, they forged a good working relationship. They remain friends to this day.

How can you adjust your communication style to win over a new boss? If you can’t seek advice from others who have worked successfully with that executive, be direct.

Ask your boss, “How would you like me to present information to you?” Propose options such as written reports, casual discussions or formal briefings. You may resent having to modify your preferred communication style to fit someone else’s preference, but flexibility pays off in the long run.


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