Managing your boss effectively isn`t a matter of “apple polishing” or “playing politics”.
It involves working together to generate the best solutions for you, your boss, and your company. With all of the attention today on learning how to manage your own career, it`s surprising that one of the most critical skills you need to get a head doesn’t get much attention. That skill is the art of managing your boss. Some may be unsupportive, some may not give you the credit you deserve for your work, and some may even take out their anxieties and frustrations on you.
While few situations are as demoralizing as having a boss who consistently finds fault with you, the good news is that most bosses really want to do their best. Under most circumstances there are steps you can follow to take control of your relationship with your boss and turn a marginal relationship into a more productive one.
Many talented people are stuck in the old paradigm of expecting their boss to manage them. They take a passive, reactive stance, waiting for direction and support.
They may complain about a bad boss, but do little to turn things around. They don`t know the small but essential steps they can take to establish a productive dialogue.
Don’t fall into this trap
If you want to influence the outcome of your relationship with your boss, you have to take responsibility. Waiting for your boss’ direction can ultimately hurt your chances for advancement.
Don’t assume that your boss knows what you need in order to do your job well. Don’t assume that your actions are in sync with his or her expectations and priorities. Stay in touch. Check things out.
Identify your boss’ priorities
Your boss`s opinion about you is critical. By learning and attending to his/her priorities and goals, you become more valuable.
This doesn’t mean that you need to agree with everything your boss says. When properly handled, disagreements can build your credibility and gain you greater support. Before you present your ideas to your boss, ask yourself what’s in it for him/her. Think about how your activities further your boss’ goals and priorities.
When you link your activities to benefit your boss, you are much more likely to get support for what you need.
Under-promise and over-deliver
Always be conservative in your commitments. It’s natural to want to impress and please your boss by making big promises. However, no matter how much you actually accomplish, if you don’t meet the expectations you set, you can’t help but damage your reputation. When you deliver or over-deliver on your promises, you build credibility in the eyes of your superiors.
Don’t focus on problems only
Yes, your boss is busy. But just because you are lucky to get a few moments doesn’t mean you should focus only on difficulties. Make sure your regular meetings include discussions on positives.
Performance and future plans
Never take problems to your boss without offering possible solutions at the same time. This gives you an opportunity to showcase your problem-solving ability. It pays to look for ways to develop your creativity and to view problems from different angles.
Learn to solicit feedback effectively
It’s important to get regular feedback from your boss if you don’t you risk being surprised at your performance reviews. How ever, the way you go about soliciting feedback is important and depends on your boss’ personality and style.
Practically everything you achieve in your career, you will achieve through working with others. Your future success depends greatly on your ability to effectively manage relationships with your boss, your peers , your subordinates and your customers.
Today, relationship strategies rule the world. It’s up to you to learn and apply them. When you master these skills you’ll find it much easier to get support for your objectives. You’ll be able to advance rapidly and ultimately achieve the results you want.