“So everything is set for next week. There is content going up each day, and the e-newsletter is laid out. I just need you to plug in your blog, and to please double check the links.
“Thanks so much, if you need anything, please let me know!
I received this email on Thursday, Aug. 4 at 9:19 PM, right before Kate went on vacation. Actually, she should have already been on vacation, as I don’t expect her to work until 9 at night. But, as is Kate’s way, she wanted to have everything buttoned up before she took off, and I’ve always appreciated it.
And for that reason, I don’t really care how many vacations she takes. And because she’s willing to work until 9 at night, I don’t really care if she’s taking some time to care for her children during the day. Kate, Nancy and I seem to have developed a wonderful understanding in which they get their jobs done and I don’t put parameters around when that needs to happen.
They always put me in a position where saying “yes” is easy, so something to consider if you’re not getting the yesses you want from your manager is — are you holding up your end of the bargain? Are you doing everything possible to make an affirmative reply to your requests a no-brainer? Are you, as they say, managing up?
Now, let’s be sure not to equate managing up with kissing up, for one has nothing to do with the other. The former is smart, the latter sycophantic and, usually, received with scorn. Managing up means having consideration for your manager — it means not kicking things upstairs as a first resort when they get difficult, but only as a last when they reveal themselves to be impossible. Managing up can also mean making sure your boss is ready for a meeting so he doesn’t get embarrassed, or is well represented at one she cannot attend, for example. It means showing that, since you’ve got my back, I’ve got yours.
Now, let’s be clear. Due to Kate’s specific type of work — combined with the magic of WordPress and Constant Contact — she can prep interviews and articles to go live while she’s out without getting me involved. The great thing for me is that, unasked, she does all of it. But let’s take Nancy, who in addition to her sales duties, processes incoming webinar registrations. There is simply no way for her to do those while on vacation, and I would never let her come back to a pile of them, so I take a hand.
The point is to do what you can for your manager before you go out on any kind of leave, tie up your lose ends, put on your out of the office and go away with a clear head. Definitely do not take the attitude of — “I’m outta here. It is what it is, and you can all deal with this mess until I get back.”
I once listened to a book called “Getting to Yes” about the art of negotiation, but I’ve got my own simple mantra for getting there when making a request. If at all possible, set the groundwork with your manager by giving them little reason to say no.