Have you ever worked on a project for weeks, or even months, and found that you have only limited time with your manager to discuss progress and make critical decisions? And when you finally do get time to speak to them you have this nagging feeling that they’re frustrated, as if you are wasting their time? You’re not alone.
Great leaders get to a senior level in companies because of their ability to assess, evaluate, judge and deliver. They are constantly juggling. They’re also increasingly time-poor and under high-level pressure, which doesn’t help you. Often it leads to these managers having very little patience for people who are slow, long-winded or vague.
“Often it leads to these managers having very little patience for people who are slow, long-winded or vague.”
The yup, yup managers syndrome
Ah the yup, yup manager. You know the type, as you start speaking they invariably narrow their eyes and say ‘yup, yup…’ while nodding vigorously. This is their way of letting you know that you are wasting their time and you better get to your point.
Many executives default to ‘yup, yup’ in almost every conversation or discussion.
The result is this ironically slows down the interaction. Why is this?
You are just trying to communicate an important message to someone more senior and the ‘feedback’ you get is that you are wasting their time, irritating them to some degree, and what you are saying is being interrupted with ‘yups’.
Naturally, you get flustered, probably lose your conversational thread and feel a tad bewildered. It makes you lose your confidence and also creates a less than ideal impression to your manager. You’re hoping to wow and impress, but you feel like the promotion you dream of is getting further and further away!
“It makes you lose your confidence and also creates a less than ideal impression to your manager.”
It’s a common pattern for senior managers and executives to leap to ‘conclusions’ based on limited or little input. It’s one of their ‘skills’. Act now, think later… you don’t want to end up on the wrong side of their speedy decision making. This is where structuring your communication effectively come in.
Structure your content and make an impact
How to do you avoid falling into these pitfalls and ensure your message is retained and respected without overstaying your welcome? You structure your communication in a no-fluff way.
Try implementing these five communication tips with management.
1. Always provide a timeframe – be specific
“Andrew I need 6 minutes of your time…”
2. Contextualise specifically – explain what project/brief or client is this about
“This is in relation to Omega Project…”
3. Let them know what you want from them upfront – it might be a decision, a response or an approval
“I need a decision from you on the budget overrun…”
4. Always give a number of points, issues, aspects you want to cover – but keep it succinct and under six in total
“There are three points I would like to make…”
5. Never assume they have time right now… invariably they will say ‘let’s do this now’
“When would be a good time to do this?”
This will manage the ‘yup, yup’ behaviour quickly and effectively.
What about the managers?
If you’ve just realised you’re a yup, yup manager, then ensure you teach your people how to communicate using the structure above.
Stop with the ‘yup, yup’ stuff – it just flusters people and renders them less effective communicators. If their behaviour is driving you nuts, then you are equally to blame if you continue to brush them off with these words. You might be time-poor, but listening to your colleagues and making sure you make an informed and evaluated decision is a critical management skill.
Ensure you never feel like you are wasting your manager’s time again by downloading our helpful 4 Key Steps To Owning Your Confidence cheat sheet. You will learn how to build your confidence when dealing with difficult and time-poor managers rather than walking away, feeling crushed and defeated.
The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.