How to establish good communication with your boss and peers your first year on the job
Updated: May 6, 2019
Teamwork makes the dream work.
So, a couple of weeks ago, my family and I went to iFly indoor skydiving for some indoor skydiving fun. Our whole experience was really great and you know, I couldn’t help but notice an amazing teamwork that was showcased by the staff at iFly Zone from a very warm welcome at the front desk reception to flying instructors and chamber operators.
It was clear that to deliver the best experience possible for their customers, they have to work well together and establish great lines of verbal and non-verbal communication.
For example, the flying instructor and the chamber operator have to have constant communication – verbal and non-verbal. They were sending signals to each other about increasing or decreasing the air pressure in the flying chamber. The flying instructor was also using sign language to communicate to customers what positions they needed to take while flying. It was such a smooth experience for everyone involved and thinking about it now, in large part, it was due to an amazing teamwork illustrated by the team that was working at iFly zone.
Teamwork and collaboration has a lot of different aspects to it. So in today’s video, we'll focus on helping you set a solid foundation when you get the job first. Here are a couple of tips that will help you set a solid foundation in working with your boss and your peers:
Communicating with your boss:
Let’s start with your boss first.
Ask your boss, “How can we best work together?”. Establish a positive working relationship by learning your manager’s leadership style and preferred method of working and communicating. So, a good way to do that is actually ask, “How would you like to work with me?’ , “What is the best way for me to communicate with you?” Is it one-on-one meetings? Is it group meetings? Is it email? Knowing that will help you adapt to his or her leadership style.
Keep him or her in the loop. You have to communicate progress by providing him or her with status updates, get their input, ask for advice and ask questions. This is your one-on-one uninterrupted time with your boss. Now, if your boss doesn’t welcome regular meetings, try to schedule them every other week or provide written reports via email.
I actually find those written reports to be incredibly helpful. I would deliver written reports to my supervisors on a monthly basis and I would ask my team members to submit their monthly reports to me on a monthly basis also.
PRO TIP: The reason why I like those results is not only for the purpose of keeping everyone up to date but because as an employee, you have to go through either annual or semi-annual reviews.
And in those reviews, it is such a pain to remember everything you’ve done, everything you’ve accomplished in the last 6 months or year. And having a written reference on a monthly basis will help you zoom for them really quickly.
Top 3 questions you need to answer in meetings or written reports:
What have you been working on?
What have you finished and what the results have been?
What else can you help your supervisor with?
Ask these question always. End your meetings always by asking what you can help them with cause it helps them feel like your engaged and part of the team.
Know your boss’ goals and objectives and make them your own. You have to align your work with how and what you’re working on helps your boss achieve company goals. It is absolutely crucial that you understand how your work is fitting a bigger picture. Your boss’ goals and objectives are most likely tied to company’s mission. So knowing them and being aligned with them helps you focus and prioritize your work also on the important stuff. This is really important so make sure to find out what your boss’ goals and objectives are.
Final tip, if you see a problem in the process, in something that you’ve identified as an issue perhaps in the department, bring that up but also make sure that you also have a potential solution to present. If you come back with only stating a problem without a potential solution, you position yourself as someone who is only there to complain. You definitely want be able to identify problems and present solutions. The combination of two is critical to being able to establish great working relationships with your teammates and your supervisors.
Top 4 strategies to work well with your peers
Spend time getting to know more people. You know, one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made early on in my career was that I literally was glued to my computer the whole time. I was working, working, working – not taking any breaks. It’s important to get to know people beyond the job responsibilities that they have so spend some time socializing and getting to know people.
Actively listen. Don’t listen to respond. Listen to understand. In many corporate meetings, I observed how people have something that they want to get out and they just completely forget to listen to what’s going on in the room. Make notes during the meetings. Understand where everyone is coming from. Understand the dynamics of the group before you respond or you speak.
Keep your team informed of the progress you’re making on your project, especially if it has a direct impact on their own work. Don’t wait for them to hear about it from others.
Collaboration vs Ownership. This is really important. In teamwork everyone is contributing but it also is very important to make sure that there is ownership assigned to people to avoid any misunderstandings. When you’re collaborating with others, make sure you understand at the end of the meeting who’s responsible for what, who’s responsible for delivering certain projects of the job and most importantly, what your responsibilities are as part of that project. Teamwork is a great thing but ownership is really important in delivering successful results for your company and for your team.
In the beginning of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon, was actually one of the people that was helping package all the packages in the warehouse.
One particular night, he was there with his fellow friend and employee. It was a really long day; they were getting really tired; they were packaging those packages the entire day on their knees and finally Jeff said: “Man, my knees really hurt. We should get some knee pads.”
His friend looked at him, and said, “No, Jeff. What we need to do is get some packing tables.”
Jeff laughed at the story for a very long time. They purchased the packing tables and their business was never the same. The heart of the story is that no matter how successful and how smart you are, you need to surround yourself with people. You need to be able to collaborate with others, brainstorm ideas and set yourself up for success.
Because one mind is great, but two minds are so much better.