We all report to someone, in some way. We all have a boss, a supervisor, a principal, a team leader to who we are responsible and accountable. Throughout our teaching journey we need to talk to our boss about many different things. Sometimes we can feel that our boss isn’t really listening to us or isn’t fully engaged with what we are saying.
I have good news for you: there are things you can do to get your boss to listen to you. Try these:
1. Get to know them
Building a meaningful and authentic relationship with your boss is an important part of engaging their interest and developing rapport with them. Take the initiative and be intentional about building a relationship with them.
2. Fulfill your responsibility
If you want to gain the attention and respect from your boss, then be sure to fulfill your responsibilities in the workplace. One of the quickest ways to undermine your relationship with the person you report to is to neglect your responsibilities. Your boss will be far less likely to listen to your ideas or proposals if you haven’t met the basic requirements of your role.
3. Go to them with solutions (not problems)
Most people go to their boss with a list of problems or complaints. This is very tiring for your boss and can make them defensive rather quickly. When you need to have a difficult conversation with your boss, make sure you provide several solutions/options to each of the problems you raise.
4. Find out what makes them tick
This follows on from building an authentic relationship with your boss. As you get to know them more and more, be aware of what motivates them. What are they interested in? What are they passionate about? What gets their energy going?
5. Respect their time
Your boss is busy. He/she has numerous responsibilities (many of which you probably don’t even know about). So honor their time. Use it wisely and respectfully. Make their job of leading you a pleasure, not a burden.
6. Speak well of them
This is incredibly important. Always speak well of your boss, even if you feel frustrated or wrongly done by. If you start gossiping about them, at some point it will get back to them and you can be sure that their willingness to listen to you in the future will be decreased. Learn the skills of getting along with your boss.
7. Ask questions
Avoid making too many statements and assuming too much. Ask questions. Ask lots of questions. As the saying goes, ‘seek to understand before being understood’.
8. Be committed to their priorities.
Your boss has a responsibility to fulfill. If you want your boss to listen to you, make it all about them and not about you. Engage with their priorities and be part of the achievement of those priorities.
Enjoy the journey,
And more importantly, enjoy the moments.