Top performance on the job is a function of several factors; key ones being understanding and working well with your boss. Here are a couple of things to follow so that working with your boss is not guess work.
Don’t label them: We all know there are some bad bosses out there and some damn good ones and several in between. But resist the temptation to name your boss as ‘good or bad’ lest it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Seek to understand: Their motivations, what’s important to them, how they like to work, what support they would like from you and what they are keen to achieve. Put yourself in their shoes, think as they would, know what their reaction is likely to be in challenging situations.
Know how they set priorities: Your boss is a busy person that makes choices on what to prioritise and they need you to do the same. As you would not expect them to dish out a priority list, you need to understand what they typically see as important or urgent and focus on those.
Appreciate how they like to communicate: Agree how they would like to be kept in the loop. Respect their time. If all they can give you is 20 minutes at any given time, make it count. Get to the point, organise your thoughts, communicate the important issues and ask questions so you are clear on any assignment you are taking forward.
Know how they measure performance: So that you focus on the important things right away. Keep them updated on challenges you face, how you are tackling those and what help you would like from them.
Agree how they want to be held to account: Some bosses will see this as an affront so check that they would like you to do this. However, top performing bosses are likely to welcome this. So establish expectations on this early on and make sure you are constructive.
Now take action: How does your boss assess your performance?