“I would have asked him about it, but the fact that he hit me is great,” said Ms. Aaron. “All I had to do was check and log off.”
Bring recommendations. When asking your manager for advice on an issue, explain the options you were considering, which ones you prefer, and why. This shows that you did the research, understand the details, and intelligently evaluate tradeoffs. Plus, your boss can choose between options instead of coming up with them.
When asking for feedback or a decision, include a due date. “Don’t let them put off a decision for later, because later it can never be,” said Mr. Ng as your letter sinks into the morass of electronic correspondence.
Let your manager know that, for example, you need feedback by 5:00 p.m. Tuesday so you can send a report on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. If you don’t get a response by a certain (reasonable) time, you will move on with your plan.
No surprises. Never surprise your boss, especially with bad news. The adage, “tell me early that I’m your friend, tell me late that I’m your critic,” still applies, Ms. Newman said. If you run into problems or are at risk of missing a deadline, call your manager asap and work together.
Build up trust. Proof of your integrity and reliability helps build a level of trust and keeps your manager from the urge to micromanage you. The personal values you exhibit are just as important as the work you produce, said Ms. Aaron. This is especially important if you are working remotely. Keep your boss informed, Ms. Aaron said, “tracking people down is a hassle.”
Managing also means protecting your boss from unnecessary work. If you can’t complete a task, try asking a coworker for help instead of asking your boss to reassign the task. Whenever you have a question, see if you can find the answer yourself first so that you can let your manager know about the opportunities you tried.