And watch your stock in the company rise as well.
So did you find some common areas of interest? Perhaps you and your boss both share a passion for a particular sports team. Maybe you are both really into reading the latest business books. Or maybe you both attended the same college? There are limitless ways you and your boss may find common ground if you look hard enough.
But what if you found yourself doing the exercise assigned earlier in this series and you didn't come up with a lot of things you really know about your boss? Then what? Well then it's time to put on the old detective hat.
- Ask your co-workers what they know about your boss.
- Do a Google search with your boss' name.
- Look her up on LinkedIn.
- See if he has a personal BLOG.
- See if they post pictures on Flickr
Find your hook and then it's time to start fishing.
So the next step is often the scariest part. How to find an opportunity to engage your boss and start a conversation that doesn't involve your TPS reports. Tricky I know! I can tell just thinking about it is giving you heart palpitations.
RELAX tiger it will be okay.
The first thing you have to remember is what I said all the way back in part one: they are human just like you! It's not like your trying to talk to the Pope of Bedrock - now that would be a big deal.
Engaging your boss doesn't have to be.
Look for a chance to say a quick word about something you've learned about them. For example - at the company coffee pot. "Hey Tom I found out you're a Cubs Fan. So am I! Bummer about that pitcher...." or "Hey boss, I didn't know you like mountain climbing. That's something I've always wanted to try. Maybe we could grab a beer sometime after work and you could tell me how you got into that." Regardless of the topic give it a shot and watch as the door of engagement starts to crack every so slightly open.
Look how many times during the business day does your boss get hit up about work related things! All the time! Your change of pace, your non-work related questions or comments do two things for you. First, you change your boss' state. You unexpectedly catch them with a ditty about themselves (which we humans instantly love - and yes your boss is human don't forget that!) and you give them a mental break from the work blah blah conversations they are used to. You sub-conciously score a little victory in the mind of the big man (or woman) and whether it looks like it not you stock rises just a little bit.
Find that hook and use it to not only facilitate your conversation opportunities with your boss but build a connection to them in other ways as well. For example once you've identified yourself as a Cubs fan as well anything you bring up about the Cubs deepens the connection you both share on that level. One way to further cement that is to bring in the latest article about the Cubs and give it to your boss. "Hey boss you may have seen this but just in case." See that the game is going to be on over the weekend so you let your boss know "just in case she didn't know."
Each and every time you do something like this your stock in your boss' eyes rises. Instead of being that faceless gal from accounting you suddenly become Cindy that cool girl from accounting who also like Jimmy Choo handbags. Or rather than being that boob from marketing you are now that tech savy Bob with all the good suggestions on apps I should try on my iPad!
Identifying something you both have in common only gets the relationship ball bouncing. It's the last part which I will cover in part five that will ultimately get your relationship moving in an upward and onward trajectory.
Until then try catching your boss at the old water cooler or on their way in from the parking lot and cast your hook. Come on Flintstone you can do it!