5 Ways to Get More Value from Face Time with Your Manager
Managers are increasingly being told that face time with their employees is crucial to ensuring their staff feel valued and engaged. For the employee, face time should do three things: it should offer the opportunity to share your ideas and showcase your talents, it should provide an opportunity to seek feedback and collaborate, and it should give you a deeper understanding into why management decisions are made or team goals set so that you can better play your part.
That said, when time is tight and deadlines are looming, it’s difficult not to feel as if face time is an imposition rather than a benefit. Luckily, there are ways that you can still ensure that each interaction generates value between you and your manager, which can importantly affect your opportunities within the company. After all, research indicates that 6 hours a week of face time with leadership can make a huge difference in working your way up the ladder.
So what can you do to foster this? Consider the following # tips.
1. Be prepared
If you’re lucky enough to have a boss who’s carved out a regular weekly meeting time to chat to you, make the most of it. Is there a tricky project you’re stalled on because you’re not sure what’s required of you? Are there questions you have about how you’re prioritising your time? Has a training opportunity reared its head and you think you’d benefit from going on that course? Make some notes, pick the most important thing so you’re not drowning your boss in questions, and use that time!
2. Stay on schedule
Your manager’s time is precious and so is yours. If you’ve requested a meeting or been asked to attend one, make sure you’re on time and well prepared so that you can contribute appropriately.
On the flip side, if you’re working towards an urgent deadline and your manager asks you to join a meeting at the last second, it’s worth gently pushing back. Explain that you’re time poor that day and ask whether there’s any flexibility: your manager may be happy to move the agenda around so that you can just come for the first part of the meeting or reschedule it for the next day. Open communication is the key here.
3. Be inspired
The leadership study that found 6 hours to be the optimal time spent one-on-one with a boss also found that people who did so were 29% more inspired than those who spent only 1 hour directly in contact. That’s not surprising when you consider that for most people, their boss represents the next rung (or two) up the corporate ladder.
Use that face time to make a study of your manager. What about their leadership style do you admire, and which aspects would you change? What practical knowledge do they possess that could help you grow? Are they experienced in dealing with some of the issues you face in your role? To get to the position they’re in, they’ve likely walked a mile in your shoes. Make it a point to look at your manager as a mentor, to learn from them where you can and also turn to them when you need assistance – hopefully they aim to inspire you in your role and career too.
4. Define ‘face time’ broadly – but not too broadly
There’ll be times when you are working remotely or your manager is travelling, and an in-person meeting isn’t possible. In those circumstances, turn to technology to keep your catch ups regular if possible. Apps such as Skype, Google Hangouts and, yes, FaceTime, all allow you to talk to one another rather than email.
That’s important because the most famous formulation has it that communication is 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and a mere 7% actual words. When we rely on email to get our point across, we lose most of that nuance. So by thinking outside the box, we can retain the benefits of face time without the inconvenience of distance.
5. Use metrics to demonstrate your value
If you feel that face time has become a way for your manager to reassure themselves that you’re being productive, rather than something with intrinsic value, you may need to track your output. Devise a way with your manager to measure your results and value, not simply the number of hours you are at your desk.
Never assume that your manager is aware of all of the great things that you do. It is your job to communicate that good news and keep your boss fully informed of the value you continue to deliver. Metrics that demonstrate your value help to maintain that balance between a valuable meeting and empty ‘presenteeism’. And that way, when you do have the next one-on-one catch up with your boss, you’ll have something to show!
What do you think?
How do you leverage face time with your manager for mutually beneficial outcomes?
This article was written by Tanya Ashworth-Keppel on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Harvard Business Review; Inc., Leadership IQ,