Quote attributed to David Cottrell
Awhile ago I published a post entitled the Secret to Managing Your Boss. It quickly became one of my most visited posts. I would guess that is because everybody has challenges in forming a mutually productive relationship with their boss. Because it was so popular, I decided to expand on that post with some additional advice.
Why Even Bother?
I think there are three solid reasons for learning how to manage your boss.
- To have a clear objective view of your boss devoid of emotional bias.
- To figure out what your personal unmet needs are and if they realistically can be met by your boss at this time.
- To create a rational strategy to obtain whatever support or training you need from your boss.
Seven Step Process To Successfully Managing Your Boss
- Seek first to understand your boss and the context he/she operates in. Not every boss has comparable skills and often there are organizational demands that get in the way of addressing your needs. Know what your boss’s strengths are and what the operational constraints can be key.
- Identify your needs that are currently being met.
- Identify your needs that are not currently being met.
- Differentiate the realistic expectations from the unrealistic.
- Identify your emotional response to having your need not met and understand how these emotional responses might not be productive. Net, look in the mirror to understand what is going on in your head and heart before looking at changing your boss’s behavior.
- Create a specific action plan and get alignment to that plan with your boss. Identify what you will do and what your boss needs to do for the plan to work. Remember that this step is a negotiation so be in a compromise frame of mind.
- Genuinely let go of unrealistic expectations.
Tips To Make The Seven Steps Work
Make sure you really understand your boss. Business is a people game. What are your boss’s goals and objectives? What are some of the operational constraints and pressures that are in play? What are your boss’s recognized strengths? What is your boss’s working style (remember, you will likely need to adapt to your boss’s style rather than the other way around)?
When assessing yourself and your needs, what are your core strengths and skill development opportunities? You have a personal work style, what does it look like? How dependent or independent are you in work situations? Do you need a lot of supervision or do you like to work alone?
Seek to ceate a mutually dependent relationship. Face it, you need each other. But, the relationship does have to work in the context of both your preferred styles. Find ways to create mutual experiences that help to deepen your understand of your boss and provide an opportunity for bonding. Always keep your boss informed. Never take a high risk position without letting your boss know in advance. Be unconditionally trustworthy. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Selectively use your boss’s time and resources. Remember, your boss has a boss too and needs time to nurture that important relationship so don’t suck up all of your boss’s free time.
Do me a favor
If you find value in the post, please share a link to it through your social media channels. I am working hard to get helpful information to as many people as possible who might find some benefit from it. A little social media help is always appreciated.