Many people can relate to workplace clashes and they can make or break your experience as an administrative professional. Clashes happen. Rather than learning how to avoid them, it's important to learn the right tools to manage or mitigate them. to Developing the right tools to manage your manager can help you pivot from “yikes” to “yay” interactions. Documenting how your executive operates internally, and the best ways to respond, can ultimately elevate your career.

Many can attest to trying and failing to satisfy the expectations of an unpredictable boss. Here are some great ways to set expectations and create a manual for how to work well with your executive.

Get Clear About What Matters

Is there some haze around your executive’s goals? Does your executive have problems communicating clear expectations or offering feedback? Hosting meetings using the Level 10 approach structures your manager’s (and your company’s) goals into measurable and actionable tasks. . Implementing the Level 10 agenda will help you and the team to identify, discuss, and solve issues. Working through this process will bring clarification when needed and provide traction toward company goals.

Find Time for a Check-in

Administrative professionals and the executives they support are often juggling multiple priorities. It can be hard to know what is important and what is not. This can be even more difficult when working remotely. This is where recurring check-ins can be helpful. These should be scheduled on your calendars. Be efficient with the face-time you get with your executive. Learn their preferred communication method and frequency. Is the schedule set in stone or is it flexible? Do you only have enough time to plan, discuss and strategize performance? Prepare questions or an agenda in advance to ensure you get as much information as possible during your check-in. This makes it short and simple for your boss to respond, and a sure way for you to get the details that you need.

Listen closely to your executive’s pain points and read between the lines. What are their barriers to completing essential business functions? How can you help them overcome this? Once you have this understanding, document it in your training manual. Going through this process will align your work style and skillset with your executive goals in a very practical way. Creating a guide for yourself will help you operate efficiently, provide a great cross training tool to use in the future, and will positively impact the organization you are supporting.

Human Your Way In

Remember, at the end of each day, your boss is just as human as you. Now that you are clear on how you align with the company’s goals, you understand the issues that your executive is working through, and you have recurring check-ins established, you can begin to set the tone for the working relationship. Update your training manual with the important aspects of your executive’s life. Getting to know your boss’s most cherished holidays, any hobbies or areas of interest, or even their latest mishap at the grocery store can form a deeper sense of connection to the human behind the executive title. Jot down any clues on how they like to receive and communicate information, and work this into how you correspond with them. Allow these nuances to inform your decisions on ways to improve processes, allocate time and resources, and bring value to your placement in the organization. Make sure to cite any references you may have used.

The value of documenting these touchpoints not only helps to build your career, but it opens the pathway for future employees and impacts your company’s culture. With the right approach, the possibility for a great professional relationship increases dramatically. Do yourself a favor and adopt a new perspective on maintaining your most important professional relationship–sooner rather than later. You’ll be glad you did.