Do You Know How to Manage Your Boss?

Our guest blogger is Mary Schaefer, co-author of Character Based Leader.

Your relationship with your boss can be one of the most complicated relationships you have. It doesn’t have to be.

Whether you think you have a boss you can work with – or not – take charge making it work. After all, your boss’s opinion matters. His or her opinion has a significant impact on your earnings, your enjoyment of your work, and your future employment.

Look at the list below. Being clear on these points can be the difference between smooth sailing, or navigating rough seas with your boss.

  • Getting agreement on your work objectives and how they will be measured.
  • Knowing your boss’s hot buttons, e.g. what she always looks for, what he never asks about.
  • Addressing any proposal/concern you have in terms that influences your boss to buy-in.  In other words, make it clear what is in it for them and the organization.

So, you get your boss’s opinion. You may not agree with it. But that’s all good. You have more information now. You may conclude you need a different assignment or even a different employer. Knowledge is power. Being informed supports good decision-making.

Don’t take anything for granted.

You may find that you and your boss have experienced disconnects in the past. Looking at the list above, any one of those points could be at play, but are not being spoken or clarified. But now, using the right tools, you can get a common understanding of your job.

Depending on the kind of relationship you have with your boss, you can use the list above in any number of ways, like:

  • You can initiate a meeting. Take this list and say, “I realize these are things that I’ve taken for granted. I want to understand how you see them.”
  • You can bring up one point in particular. Your boss might keep focusing on one issue that you think you are addressing. Now that you look at this list, you might think, “You know, I bet that’s about interdependence. I ought to ask her perspective on that.”
  • You can keep these in your back pocket to bring up at an opportune moment or when you begin to observe that something is off.

Be the leader of your own career.

You own your career; no one will ever care about it as much as you do. We talk about managers and organizations creating environments of empowerment, but you have the ability to empower yourself. When I say this what I mean is for you to:

“Claim and embody your own authority, i.e. own your dreams, decisions, actions and impact.”

With the simple points in the list in this post, you can get clear now rather than pay a price later because you didn’t. Learn to show the value of your ideas and performance. Earn trust and credibility and set the stage for more opportunities.

You have a right to expect a lot from your boss, and you are not always going to get what you need. You are responsible for making the relationship work for you. You can do it.

To learn more about how to manage your boss, join our webinar with Mary Schaefer: How to Make Your Relationship With Your Boss Work For You.

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