Managing Your Boss: Your Most Important Management Role
There are entire books written about managing your boss (Coping With Difficult Bosses, by Robert Bramson, and How To Manage Your Boss, by Christopher Hegarty, are a couple), but following are some keys points to consider: Start by determining your boss’s temperament and pay attention to how she likes to receive information — if she cares most about getting things done, start with key actions; if she’s more concerned with people, talk about the impact on people; and if she’s more interested in ideas, frame proposals in concepts.
Manage his time — your boss’s time is minimally devoted to your projects and problems. Book meetings ahead of time so that you can finalize a decision or project in a timely manner, and prepare, summarize, and synthesize information and options for your boss to address.
Make sure your boss does not get information from others, especially negative information. Be your own messenger — don’t leave it to others. You never want to hear, “Why didn’t you tell me that …” from your boss. By having open communication and by admitting that something negative has occurred, you build trust and understanding, often diffusing future difficulties.
If you want your boss’s buy-in on a plan, and to avoid a “no,” come prepared to help her make the decision you are seeking: present the objective clearly, summarize the options you considered and your criteria for selecting this option, and be prepared with facts, data, and graphics and visuals to help her grasp the situation quickly and to prepare for potential disagreements. Summarize the decision in writing after the meeting to ensure understanding.
Never gossip with your coworkers about your boss. Your boss has a right to expect your loyalty and support on issues of work and performance. Also, be aware that your coworkers may or may not end up being your friends, so go slowly when building relationships. Stay positive and professional with everyone. One of your coworkers could become your boss someday, so always act accordingly.
Always put the company’s mission and objectives first in your conversations about goals — even if your true objective is to get ahead yourself. Showing your boss that you are a team player and looking to advance the business will ultimately pay off in your own advancement.
For more advice visit Johnson Alumni Career Resources.