Leaders value time and prioritize. A leader engages his time on activities that can change the lives of his followers.
When you have the opportunity to stand before a leader, use the time wisely; be smart and maximize the opportunity.
It could be an opportunity to make a small representation that will award you a contract. It could be a short discussion that could impress your boss and position you for promotion.
No matter how busy a leader is, enganging him in a smart way will avail you more of his attention. Some guidelines to follow are:
- Value your leader’s time
Leaders appreciate people who value their time. They know such persons give meaningful contributions.
Management author Charlse C. Gibbons advised “One of the best ways to save time is to think and act ahead; five minutes of thinking can often save five hours of work.”
Preparation affords you to get relevant information before meeting with the leader.
- Don’t make your boss think for you
No employer likes people who don’t think for themselves. Some who ask questions all the time, instead of thinking cannot win a leader’s time. What distinguishes a person from his peers is the ability to think through before starting any project. You should only ask questions when, after thorough thinking, you are yet to be clear. Don’t ask your leader questions because you can’t think, or are lazy. But you should only ask questions that stir progress.
- Contribute meaningfully
Seek to add value anytime you get your leader’s attention. Always “bring something to the table.” It could be through a discussion or presentation or providing relevant information that can be useful to your leader.
- When asked to speak, don’t misuse it
It is disheartening that some people flunk opportunities to sell themselves to their leaders. There is a popular saying: “First impressions last long.” Once you misuse an opportunity given to you to speak, your leader immediately profiles you as a time-waster. And he might not give you such opportunity again. If given another opportunity; and you make the same mistake, your credibility comes into question.
- Learn to speak your leader’s language
Every leader has a language. Understanding your leader’s language puts you in a position to think and act as your leader. Your leader then sees you as one that can be saddled with responsibilities.
- Get to the bottom line
Leaders get bored when you do not get straight to the point when communicating with them. Playwright Victor Hugo said “As short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time.” Just because you have all information at your finger tip does not mean you should bore your leader with them. He is more interested in the bottom line and its relevance. The bottom line will determine whether your leader will require more information from you or not.
- Give a return on your leader’s investment
If you bring value to the table whenever you meet with your leader, he sees the time spent with you as an investment. Your value towards him increases and he makes referrals to your discussions with him. A return on a leader’s investment is what makes the leader invest more into the lives of his followers. And he does this more when he sees that his followers are using some of his transferred competencies for his cause. The more he sees this, the more he wants to invest in them.