Thursday, February 10, 2011

Everybody Has a Boss

Everybody has a boss. CEO's are accountable to their boards. Boards of public companies are accountable to their shareholders. Nonprofit boards are accountable to their communities and contributors. Your boss has a boss. Do you know who it is and what results she is looking for? Understanding what drives your boss's boss is a key part of being successful in your career. It helps you put yourself in the big picture.

If your boss is an effective leader and communicator, you probably have a pretty good idea of where you fit in the big picture. The goals she sets for you are tied to the overall goals of your company or organization. What do you do, though, if the directions you get seem arbitrary or unclear?

You can begin by asking positive questions of your boss, mentors and other colleagues that show your desire to help get the job done. Make sure you stay informed about the competitive and financial forces affecting your organization. For example, pending cutbacks in government funding for health care programs are putting pressure on the health care delivery system. Armed with a clearer understanding of where the decision-makers in your organization want to go, you will be ready to adapt to changing priorities and to stand out as someone who exceeds expectations.

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