Don’t waste your boss’s time
These days all bosses have limited time. Every contact with the boss uses some of this time. It is surprising how many people use up their boss’s time (and some of their own credibility) over relatively trivial matters. So it is important to prepare ahead and call upon your boss’s time sparingly. Use your formal meeting times with them for dealing only with important issues.
Make a list of small items that can be dealt with informally
One great method for dealing with minor matters is to make a written or mental note of the various small items for which you need a decision that can be made quickly. Most items can be raised informally when you have unexpected time together at the water cooler, in the corridor, in a car or aircraft together on the way to a meeting, etc.
Of course you can always email the boss about more pressing matters. The emails would be channelled through the boss’s executive assistant, so ensure you have a good relationship with them in order to get priority access when it counts.
Look for astute ways you can get more access to management
Some executives also adeptly make themselves available to their boss for all sorts of purposes at different times, just so they can get direct dialogue with them. For instance, the executive chairman of a company where I used to work lived in another city and came to town only once a month to attend board meetings. One of our managers always volunteered to pick up the chairman from the airport and drive him back, day or night – it was no trouble at all. During the 45-minute drive each way he had the chief’s undivided attention and discussed many issues and gained many more decisions than he could from his normal course of contact with the chief. Sure enough, he was promoted within a few months!