Bosses reward people they trust and who are effective. And when in doubt? They lean towards those they trust. Here’s how to achieve both.Schedule a meeting with your boss. Tell her (or him) “I’m sure this is going to make me seem oblivious…(effective pause)…I want to make sure I’m doing the best for you I can be.”
(This, of course, is the technique of using tactical empathy to get you most quickly to where you want to go.)
Eric Barker tells us to think regarding “deep work” and “shallow work.” (Eric Barker’s book “Barking Up The Wrong Tree” should be part of your success library. It’s outstanding.)
When the meeting begins, ask: “What’s the deep work you need me to do? What’s the work that when I do it, it most advances the company’s primary objectives?”
Make sure you summarize her/his answer. Get a “that’s right” out of her/him before you move on.
At this point, there’s a really good chance that the conversation will turn towards your boss guiding you to focus more and more of your time on deep work. You will be exactly where you want to be: on the path to success (if you do what you’re told).
You have to create the opportunity for this to happen. The “that’s right” response is always the breakthrough gateway to where you want to go. Like any negotiation, success is getting your counterpart to vocalize your solution (the art of letting the other side have your way). If it’s “their” idea, it’s got to be brilliant, right?
“How much do you want me focused on the deep work that really gets us to where we are going?”
This is a powerful “How?” question. People love to be asked, “how.” The beauty of this is it moves your boss to focus you on the work that will get you ahead.
Summarize to “that’s right” here. This response will give you a clear picture of your future if you actually listen to it.
After you get a clear idea of the deep work, you need to understand where the shallow work is. This is the drudgery that comes in daily.
“What’s the shallow work? What’s the work that comes in daily that really doesn’t do much for us other than take up my time?”
Let him or her answer fully here. Paraphrase it to make sure you’ve got it right.
“When the ‘shallow work’ conflicts with the ‘deep work,’ what do you want me to do?”
Summarize to “that’s right” here. Again, this response will give you a clear picture of your future if you actually listen to it.
If your bosses guidance, for some strange reason, has him or her focusing you on the shallow work, here’s the only way to get yourself out of that (if anything can): “Do you want me to fail you by not focusing on the ‘deep work’?
The point of this negotiation is to find out what’s really going on and where you stand. Then you come up with a roadmap for your success. Knowing is always better than wondering. You can’t come up with your best chance of success based on wondering.
What if you don’t like the feedback you get?
If that’s the case, what are your chances for promotion, raises, and success in this position? Or even with this company? How much time do you want to waste?
On the other hand, (and what is much more likely), your situation might only need 2mm shifts to move you ahead is great ways.
Your boss is human and quite possibly a little overwhelmed by what is an increasingly fast-moving world. Your help is sorting and organizing your efforts is most likely welcomed.
But the key here is taking your boss’s guidance to heart. There’s possibly going to be some comfort shift adjustments. That’s called growth!
Now to the issue of trust.
What are the components of trust? There are 2. Everyone asks themselves: #1 – “Will you look out for my best interests?” #2 – “Can I predict what you will do?”
Let’s go back to the guidance we were just seeking from the boss. Getting her or him to guide you onto to the deep work will by definition start you looking out for their best interests. And actually doing it will make you predictable.
Boom! You’re now scoring high on the top 2 criteria for promotions and raises.
If they don’t materialize, you’ve now built either a great case for to appeal or built a strong resume. Will every job/boss reward you when you deserve, even when you’ve gotten on the agreed path to success? No.
What you want is the best chance at success. It’s not if… it’s when you will need to move on from a job that doesn’t compensate you properly. They’re going to go the way of the dodo anyway (become extinct). In 10 years, nearly 50% of the Fortune 500 companies will be only a memory.
Set yourself up for your best chance of success! Then execute.
About The Author
Christopher Voss is the CEO of The Black Swan Group, a firm that solves business negotiation problems with hostage negotiation strategies. Chris founded the Black Swan Group, in 2008 upon his retirement from the FBI where he was the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Chris is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business where he teaches business negotiation in both M.B.A. programs.