Something I think about a lot is how understanding your colleagues’ (and your own) work and communication styles can make your life so much easier.
I’ve written about it before, like when I created my user manual, which is a guide to my work style and personality that I shared with my colleagues at the time. It’s time for an update, and one thing I want to add is my feelings on first drafts.
As a boss, I love first drafts. It gives me the chance to see if we’re on the same page, if I need to be clearer about what I need from the document (or whatever the product is), and if the person doing the work needs additional support, time, or other resources to get it done.
I also love it when my boss or client loves first drafts so that I can make sure I’m on the right track. I had one boss who only wanted to see my work after it was proofread and fact-checked. I get that it saved her time, but if I was going in the wrong direction, I would have to start over completely. I believe that taking a stab at an assignment and checking in early is much more efficient for the person doing the work and the project’s timeline. But with a boss who was more of a final draft person, I had to get clever in figuring out ways to get the feedback you needed to find out if I was on the right track, like by using previous work as an example, asking a lot of questions at the time of the assignment, or reaching out to a collaborator or someone else who’s been around for a long time and might have an idea what she wanted.
This isn’t to say that we need to convince all bosses to embrace first drafts; it’s not that simple. But knowing whether your boss loves them or hates them will likely make your projects go more smoothly and make your work life much easier.