I was thinking about this the other day as I was sat in a lift chair while visiting a furniture store. The chair is for my father. He’s 88-years-old and sometimes has trouble getting out of his recliner. The lift recliner would be great for him. However, if I brought up the idea, he’d tell me didn’t need it. I have to make it his idea. I think I’ll casually tell him that while shopping for new living room furniture I played around with one of those lift chairs, and then see where it goes from there with dad. So, what’s this story about my father and a lift chair have to do with managing your boss? Simple, whenever possible when you have a thought about the business, make it your bosses idea. Here are 8 more keys to how to manage your boss.
How to Manage Your Boss
Hire the Right Boss
An interview shouldn’t be one-sided. Ask enough questions of your boss during the interview process to get a feel for their management style. Ask direct questions about how they manage. For example, how the share expectations, follow up, or assign tasks. Do your best to watch them interact with others. How do they manage the current roster? If you don’t like what you see, don’t expect them to change for you. Find another boss.
Get to Know Them
When I suggest getting to know your boss I don’t mean how they take their coffee, that’s fine, but to get to know anyone, including your boss, you need to understand how they think.
- What motivates your boss?
- What is her preferred method of communication?
- How does your boss learn? Are they audio, verbal, kinetic, or visual learners?
- What are her unique talents?
So, how do you learn all of this information? I’m glad you asked. The answer is – you ask them. Ask what motivates them, how they like to communicate, and how they process information. Don’t make this complicated, ask them.
Bring the Bottom Line
“I was working with an HR manager who was committed to employee wellness programs. However, not everyone on the corporate staff was convinced of its usefulness. Some members of the staff didn’t buy into the need for a wellness programs. Their opinion was it was merely for the employee with little or no benefit to the organization; therefore, it was wasteful to commit resources to the program. The HR manager showed the staff how a wellness program affected the bottom line by reducing insurance costs. Numbers speak.” — How to Achieve Corporate Staff Buy-in.
Be a Friend
Are you afraid of making a friend with your boss? If your definition of a friend is something like, “A friend is someone who helps, a person who has your back”, why wouldn’t you befriend your boss?
“Have you been told not to be friends with your employees? If I asked should a boss help his or her direct reports, would your answer be absolutely? However, if you look up the definition of friendship that’s what you’ll find.” — Can a Boss be a Friend?
To meet expectations, you have to know them inside out. Take the time to survey your manager to understand his or her expectations of you and your position. Learn their goals, apply activities that will help meet those goals, and then meet their expectations. If you don’t know your boss’s expectations how could you possibly meet them?
Be a Crusader for their Mission
If you want to meet your personal goals, whether its advancement, a special project, or more authority, begin by championing your boss’s mission; learn your boss’s mission, and then be a part of it.
Don’t Be That Yes Person
A good boss wants your input. A great boss wants to know when you disagree and why you do so. Be straightforward, you might consider asking your boss how you should approach them if you ever have an alternate point of view from theirs.
Learn When and How to Say No
It’s okay to say no. When you’re not the best person for the task, when it would pull you away from important work, or it’s not one of your talents. However, your approach is what will make the difference.
If someone else is better suited to the task, simply state you’d be happy to take on the assignment, but John Doe is more qualified. If jumping to a new task will pull you off of one you need to complete then show your boss the work you’re doing, and then ask them to decide whether you should stop the task you’re on.
Why Should You Manage Your Boss?
I mean really, who needs the headache? Don’t you already have a full plate? So, why even attempt to manage your boss? Because your boss will not always be right and someone needs to tell them, and because some decisions could hurt you and your career. And the number one reason for me is I want to work with a boss I like and respect who makes me feel like part of the team and asks for my opinion. And to get all that I might have to manage my boss’s expectations of me.