I envy today’s younger workers who have access to so much more information than I did when I started out. In particular, the explosion of social media enables workers to learn more faster about lots of things. This learning can improve how individuals do their jobs — and how they advance their careers.
So much has been made about younger workers being careful about what they write and post on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere. We teach that exposing too much information can make it hard to get (or keep jobs). But let’s consider the other direction for a moment. If you follow your bosses on social networks, you’re likely to learn more about their work and personal lives. And if they follow you back, you can share strategically with them.
Let’s take a look for a moment at how social media can help you develop a better, stronger relationship with your boss. And don’t limit your thinking here to just your immediate supervisor: your Big Boss can be just as important to cultivate a relationship with.
Get insight into what is on your boss’s mind. Comments and blog posts can show you what your boss is thinking about, exposing their concerns and ideas.
Read what your boss is reading. Links to articles or mentions of business books are a treasure trove of learning about what your boss is learning.
Learn what makes your boss excited. When you’re building a relationship with someone, it’s great to know what energizes them. What are they passionate about? Social media can reveal that about your boss.
See who influences your boss. In the old days you may not have known who your boss hung out with or talked to on the phone. Today, many of those relationships are exposed through social media. By following the people that your boss follows, you can get a better picture of her professional and personal networks.
Engage with your boss on social media. Online tools are a great way to learn about your boss, but it’s also a good way to extend your relationship. While there is a fine line between being a creepy suck-up and an engaged participant, there can be real value in having additional opportunities to interact — especially with your Big Boss who you may have less contact with on a regular basis.
Share your own valuable information and insight. You can show your boss that you’re a thought leader through what you post on social media. Your links, comments, and blog posts can help show your interest in your organization’s goals and needs. You can also use your social media activity to help show your boss that your skills and interests go beyond your current responsibilities, increasing the chance for an expanded role and future career growth.