Beating Interacting with Others Hurdle #1

What is your interacting with others hurdle #1?

I do not meet one-to-one (either in person or by phone) with my boss at least once per month.

What can you do?

– Schedule a regular meeting with your boss, either in person or by phone. If you rarely speak to your boss, you are at risk of becoming irrelevant and invisible.

– Schedule a regular meeting with your boss to ensure that you do not only talk when there is a problem. If you talk with your boss only when there is a problem, you are not raising your visibility with her.

– Schedule time with your boss and ensure you talk about your career, progress on goals, and areas of interest which you both share.

What is the Impact of Frequency & the Pace of Change on Your Ability to Interact?

Your organization is experiencing unprecedented change and the frequency of change (how often change occurs) and the pace of change (how quickly you are expected to change) are having a significant impact on you in your organization.

One significant impact is in your ability to interact and raise your visibility with colleagues. In statistics highlighted in a recent Fast Company article “The Four Year Career,” a United States worker’s median tenure in his or her current job is just 4.4 years. Concurrently and reported in a recent Wall Street Journal article, the average tenure of a Fortune 500 CEO is just 4.6 years. Regardless of the level in your organization, you and your colleagues are transitioning to new roles and organizations faster than ever before.

This frequency and pace of change is having a negative impact on your ability to interact and build relationships with colleagues. Networking is harder to do and less effective when colleagues and their roles change so frequently. Investing your time and energy connecting with others solely focused on networking means a lot of coffee and bagels. And before you know it, the person with whom you networked is no longer there. Any remnant of visibility that you had with this individual (along with your coffee and bagel) is gone.

Your Boss is Your Most Important Relationship

In today’s ever-evolving organizations, the most important relationship you will have is with your boss. Your boss is accountable for the activities on which you focus. Organization leaders will come to your boss for feedback on your performance. Your boss is the author of your annual performance appraisal. Your success in your organization is dramatically impacted by the impression your boss has of you.

Your relationship with your boss is based on a series of interactions characterized by dependencies and expectations. For a variety of reasons, you often find yourself disconnected from recurring interactions with your boss, which prevents you from building a relationship. It will be difficult for your boss to have an impression of you, especially a positive one, if your interactions are limited. Your interactions with your boss may be limited due to one or more of the following reasons:

– Time. It is not surprising that a significant hurdle to interacting with your boss is time. In an organization where business professionals are expected to do more, with less, and faster, time is at a premium. Many of your colleagues report that weeks may go by without a substantive conversation with a boss; and when a conversation does occur, it was usually due to a problem or a need for a quick piece of information. Successful business professionals find time in their busy day to connect with their boss in substantive ways and to overcome challenges in their bosses schedule by being persistent.

– Personality. As individuals, we all possess personality preferences which differentiate us from each other. Recall the observations earlier in this chapter regarding nature or your natural interest to interact with others. Some of these personality preferences work in harmony and others create conflict. You may feel this at work when you express your feelings in ways such as “I can’t get along with Bob,” or “I don’t know what it is, but I just don’t like Karen,” or “Cheryl and I seem to be from different planets.” Conflicting personality preference differences between you and your boss may create a situation where you avoid spending time with your boss. For more information on the impact of personality preferences at work or to learn more about personality assessments, visit The information and tools found at this website can help you understand personality differences in ways that help you work with colleagues effectively.

– Geography. In today’s virtual and global workplaces, one of the biggest enemies of visibility is geographic distance. When you work in Tampa, Florida, and your boss is in Shanghai, China, or when you work from home and you are barely at the office, your ability to be visible is at significant risk. It can also be frustrating if your boss and your colleagues are situated in the same building and you are the only one working at a remote location. But successful business professionals have found ways to stay visible with their boss, regardless of geography.

These individuals realize that visibility is not just physical visibility (as in being seen), but focused more on interactions (whether physical or not).