CAD Manager's Newsletter (#422)

26 Feb, 2019 By: Robert Green

Talk to the Boss Like a Boss

Adopting "management speak" can a good thing if you want to be heard and valued.

In the prior edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, we discussed the concept of prioritizing your CAD management tasks in the same way as your boss would do to maximize your effectiveness in your boss' eyes. Not surprisingly, this prioritization exercise uses communication with your boss to determine what they want, rather than guessing.

In this edition, we'll expand on this effort to communicate better with your boss and give you some tips you can use to maintain a great dialog. Here goes.

David Pereiras/
David Pereiras/

Management Communication Style

I've noticed a few things about senior managers and how they communicate with technical staff, such as CAD managers and IT personnel. These observations are crucial to understand if you ever hope to get along with — or become — a senior manager.

They speak in short action phrases. This means they're in a hurry and they want to get to the point.

They want to know what the problem is first, and they want it distilled to a short, easy-to-understand statement. Albert Einstein famously said, "If you can't explain it simply, then you don't understand it well enough." That is particularly on point here. Managers want to know you understand the problem and can keep the discussion focused.

They want to know the recommended solution. Senior managers don't want to hear a technical person complaining about a technical problem unless they have a technical solution. After all, isn't that why they hired you — to solve problems?

They want to understand just enough to follow the solution. They don't want to get a PhD in CAD management, they just want to know if things are getting fixed.

If you think about your interactions with senior managers, you'll probably agree with these statements. So, the question now becomes, How can you communicate more like a senior manager?

Management Communication Tips

Here then are the communication tips I've used throughout my career that seem to work no matter which technology you manage.

Write short, not long. Write emails and reports in a short, executive summary style, using a "here's the problem and the solution" narrative. This provides all the details management needs in a style they can read quickly. And if something does pop up that requires more discussion, your report serves as a conversation starter, because your boss already knows what the problem is and generally how the discussion will go. Read more »

Tools and Resources

Cadalyst Publishes CAD Manager's Guide to Error Reduction
Available via complimentary download, CAD Manager's Guide to Error Reduction is a newly compiled collection of Robert Green's advice to help CAD managers catch more problems — and even stop some before they start.

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About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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