How to make your boss work for you
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No matter what your role is, you always have a boss. Most of the time what's needed is some time carved out to add structure around priorities and process. Taking the initiative and adding this structure has been coined "managing up", but all it's all about making your life easier and less stressful. Follow these steps and you will improve communication, documentation, and you'll have a healthier working relationship. Most importantly, you'll have your boss working for you—helping you get things done.

Regular check-ins (ideally once a week for 15-30 minutes)

While these check-ins shouldn't cannibalize your actual 1:1 meetings, you should make sure to have time with your boss to align once a week. This should be done in a real-time meeting (synchronously).

Always have a clear agenda and document

Without an agenda, your meeting will be a free-for-all. Try creating a collaborative document in Input with your boss. Make sure to have your meeting broken down into a simple agenda that covers the following:

  • Company priorities: What are the most important problems the company needs to solve?
  • Action items and tasks: This is a list of to-dos. Who is accountable? When does it need to be done?
  • Questions: What are the unknowns, and who can answer this?
  • Decisions: Document all the major decisions made.

Align on process

As you talk about all the things you'll need to do to help your company and team, you'll need to be clear about what you need from your boss to work effectively. Be clear about tasks for your boss and when they're due. If your boss delegates their task to you, make sure that they understand that you own that portion of the decision making. Talk about your expectations and what you need from them to be successful.

Anticipate risks or potential snags

It's always important to look around the corner and think ahead. Make sure to think about potential risks and unknowns that could block you from completing your tasks. Sometimes time can be a blocker as well, so be clear about your estimates—if estimates change, make sure to communicate them earlier. It's better to always notify your team and your boss when there is a potential issue ahead of time (versus let issues drag on). Staying proactive prevents micromanagement and helps you build trust between you and your boss.

Consider using Input to document your agenda, tasks, and open questions with your boss. As your boss checks things off, you will get notified every step of the way, ensuring accountability. If you follow this guideline, your boss will be working for you.

How to create actionable meeting minutes
Photo by Anna Shvets

Meeting minutes, when done well, can help drive a project forward. They can also help communicate the progress and decisions around your project to your stakeholders.

Who takes meeting minutes?

Typically, one person is designated to collect meeting minutes. At the beginning of the meeting, be clear who is documenting the minutes and how everyone will get a copy after the meeting ends.

If your meeting minutes are in Input, multiple people can edit them during the meeting. This can be great on smaller teams where everyone in the meeting wants to participate in the discussion. It's tough to talk and take notes at the same time. Take turns taking notes with Input! We recommend having two people designated as minute takers; when one of them is speaking the other knows to take over.

What should to be included in your minutes?

Minutes should be concise and include important information, such as:

  • Date, time, location and who attended
  • An agenda (this is an outline of the purpose of the meeting and things you need to cover)
  • Decisions that were made
  • Actions and tasks that are open, including the deadline and who was assigned to complete them.

Input allows you to assign tasks from within your document. You'll get notified if a task is assigned to you, or if a task in your minutes is completed by someone else.

Who needs to see the minutes?

We recommend sharing the minutes with everyone that was invited to the meeting. They can also be shared to teams that are affected by the outcomes of your meeting and other stakeholders.

Input makes it easy to invite people to your meeting minutes and you'll be able to see if they've viewed the document once you've shared it with them.

What else needs to happen to make meeting minutes effective?

Follow up is the most important part! Making sure that things move forward is the point of creating meeting minutes. Share the notes, and make sure the next steps are delegated to the right people. Be clear about who is accountable, schedule the next meeting to keep moving things forward.

5 Tips to Move a Project Forward
Photo by Hanna Olinger

As once said by one of our favorite writers, "A goal without a plan is just a wish." (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry). Whether you're new to leading a team or a seasoned veteran, moving projects forward always start with the basics. We have 5 tips that will help you guide you to move your team forward and get things.

1. Be clear about goals

Start with what you want to accomplish and what's the purpose of your project. As a reminder, remember to use the SMART method (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Bound). Everything should be anchored to a goal—it will keep your team aligned on why you're moving a project forward. Goals ensure that everyone's effort is focused aligned to solve problems together.

2. Create an outline

Whether you use pen and paper, a whiteboard, or an app of your choice, jot it down in an outline form. Freeform writing is one way to get things down, but the most successful method is to create a list all the conditions that need to be true in order to accomplish your goals. Writing things down in a list with bullet points is the fastest way to get started. This will become your project plan.

3. Delegate

Set a meeting with a clear agenda and go over the project outline. Be clear that you need help and discuss who is best suited to move specific parts of the project forward. Make sure that the people involved are clearly accountable with action items.

4. Follow up weekly until the project is done

While it can be challenging to get everyone on a call at the same time, schedule a 15-20 minute meeting to talk to your team about the status of their tasks and identify if there are any blockers. Focus on how to unblock action items. Keeping your follow up meetings tight will show that you respect your team's time.

5. Celebrate victories big and small

Remember to acknowledge people for their efforts and find opportunities to celebrate. This builds a positive feedback loop with your team. We're all human beings, and a little encouragement goes a long way. Plus, encouragement is free.

From collaborating & communicating goals to your team, to delegating tasks, to knowing when to celebrate achievements throughout the life of your project, Input is on your team and here to help!  Sign up for Input