Your ability to communicate with people is important in any role, your ability to communicate with your boss even more so. You have to show that you have what it takes not only to present information to a manager, but to do so successfully, because there are times in many different jobs when you need too influence your managers views.
Here’s a Behavioral Interview Question:
What obstacles or difficulties have you ever faced in presenting new ideas to a manager and how did you overcome them?
Complaining is always the worst type of answer, which means you are limited in the “obstacles” that you can face without sounding like you have a problem with your old boss. Some you can use include:
- Overcoming Principled Differences – If you believe in one way of doing things when your manager believes in another, but ultimately both are fine ideas.
- Literally Finding the Time – If your biggest challenge is being able to sit them down and lay out the information, so you have to find a way to do so effectively.
- New Technologies/Information – If there is a “way things are done” that the manager may not be aware of e.g using Excel for spreadsheets instead of hand writing them.
Be careful about how you go about this answer, do your best to provide a detailed answer without complaining.
“My manager and I had a great relationship, but of course there were several years of experience between us and, as my supervisor, he knows that he is responsible for the outcome of any project, so he wanted to make sure that his ideas were used.
But there were certainly times with which we disagreed. The final decision would always be his, so in order to make sure I was heard, I would map out the benefits of my ideas in easy to digest bullet point format, pointing to reference links that showed others in the industry who had success with a similar concept. Sometimes he would continue with his strategies, but sometimes he would also integrate mine, and in the end it helped me make sure I was doing everything I could for the company, while also maintaining a respectful relationship with him.”
For non-managerial roles, it is really important that you show you have respect for the person and the process whilst still wanting to do what’s best for the company. This kind of answer help you show that you have a clear action plan for communicating with your manager and helps prove you’re someone that will present well and take action.
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