Here’s my top tips for reporting up and down.
Reporting up: you and your team may seem like just a cost centre to those you report to, and any request for additional funds or other resources may seem to them a reduction in profits. And those above you may come from a different backgound from you, not with the experience necessary to understand what you and your team really do.
Here’s my top 5 tips for reporting and advocating up:
1 Link your report or request to the objectives of those you report to. For example: “So you want to grow market share, we can do this by…”
2 Use their tools. For example: if they use spreadsheets, use them; if they use PowerPoint, use it.
3 Dress like them. For example: if reporting to men and they wear ties, wear one.
4 State a problem which has an impact on their objectives and solve it for them. For example: “We have a problem in how the digital development side is working with each content-generation team. This has a grave impact on the quality of our websites and so the traffic. We can solve this if…”
5 Tell them the consequences if they do not deliver to you what you request. For example: “If we don’t do this, our social media traffic will go down and so harm our revenue on these platforms.”
Reporting or appraising down is equally important. Here’s my top 5:
Reporting and appraising down:
1 Praise them, only when due, for when they think they have done a good job or worked hard. For example: “You all worked hard on this supplement and it looked good and had great content.”
2 Tell them again and again what your common objectives are. For example: “We serve these readers with the best content about…”
3 Get them to respond to your appraisal of their individual or collective work against the agreed criteria. For example: “So, how do you think this matches to our needs to increase our use of social media?”
4 Display your genuine enthusiasm and belief in the project. Don’t fake this. For example: “I firmly believe that…”
5 Show your experience by explaining what you know. For example: “I’ve learned that if we…”
And you see that in every case I’ve provided an example. Examples are always good.