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Don't Wait for Upper Management to Come to You

While top-down management still exists in today’s workplace, more organizations than ever want employees to innovate and solve problems. The most successful companies articulate this as part of their culture. So, it’s important that emerging leaders model the best way to approach upper management. Try one or two of these ideas before the next communication with your top leadership:

Style - Determine the best approach for presentation. Does she prefer summary, does he like more detail? It often depends on the situation. Is it best to email first then meet or meet then email? Plan your approach based on your and your colleagues’ experience.

Timing - Timing is so important. Is your boss finishing up a tough project, or juggling work from home issues? Monday morning and Friday afternoons could be bad or good, depending on the person. Make sure you get enough time on his calendar, so you won’t feel rushed.

Options - Anticipate the questions your boss might ask you about the situation. Put yourself in her place. Make sure you’re thinking about how it will impact the organization. Have two or three different options to throw out. They don’t have to be fully fleshed out, but at least offer more than one choice for her to think about.

Follow-up - Once you come to agreement on next steps, review those with him, then schedule a follow-up meeting to go over changes and more complete ideas with details. Follow-up with an email summarizing your discussion, agreement and next steps with a calendar invite for the next session.

If you get shut down with your plan, don’t be shy about coming back with new ideas. Companies understand the importance of listening to employees. You'll be seen as a tenacious leader for coming back.

And while you’re at it, encourage your employees to approach you with ideas. Don’t make them guess your style or best timing. Be open and honest and encourage them to keep new ideas and solutions to problems coming your way.

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