For several years, I’ve heard we should manage our bosses and manage 360 — meaning to manage peers, direct reports, and superiors. Although this sentiment may have some merit, it can be destructive when it’s used to manipulate others. If you want to influence others — make it easier for them to work with you, whether it’s your associates, your team, or your boss. Are you making points with your boss? 

For example, if you want to get the most out of your working relationship with your immediate supervisor, it starts with communication, which begins by understanding their communication preferences.

What’s the best time of day to check in with your boss?

How often does your boss want updates?

What information do they want?

How do they like to communicate?
• Email
• Verbal F2F
• Telephone
• In writing

What Are Your Boss’s Priorities?

Next, combine their communication preferences with management style. How does your manager make decisions and share them with the team? How does your manager manage?
What is your boss’s management style?
• Takes charge, controlling, and directing activities
• Laid back and relaxed — lets the team figure it out
• Do-it-yourselfer — no one can do it as well as they can
• Seeks input and delegates responsibility

I could list 20 management styles, and most managers wouldn’t fit any one category — they’d be a combination of styles. The best way to make it easier for your boss to work with you is to understand what styles they use and when they use them.

If you do your best to influence those around you, rather than attempting to control them, you have a better chance of sharing your points to a receptive audience. Learning how others prefer information makes it more digestible for them. If you want to “manage” others on your team, including your boss, learn their management tendencies and how they communicate. The best way to be heard is to make it easier for others to hear you. What methods do you use to be heard?

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