HOW TO MANAGE YOUR BOSS
1. Communicate properly...
... on time, in adequate detail and regularly. Make sure that formal communication works and also that you simply talk and compare notes from time to time. Effective communication prevents a lot of misunderstandings and breakdowns in relationships.
2. Identify any blockages
Examine your current relationship with your boss. Identify where the blockages to a good working relationship lie - perhaps you have trouble communicating, or find it hard to express your own opinions or have discussions about workload. Identify what triggers these problems. Similaraly,
think about parts of the relationship that work well. Build upon these and work on cutting problems in other areas.
3. Identify your boss's leadership style
It is important to be able to recognise the way, or ways, that your boss typically acts or behaves towards you. The following are typical leadership styles: bureaucratic, charismatic, dictatorial, consultative, laissez-faire. A specific style or mix of them will require different approaches from
you. Also think about your boss's 'thinking' style. It's no surprise that we get on well with some people but others rub us up the wrong way. Try to figure out if your boss is one for detail, for the 'big picture', reactive or proactive, likes or hates change.
4. Identify your boss's key objectives and values
Think about what is important to your boss and work hard on these areas. The two main areas to pay attention to are:
a) His/her objectives - to your manager, what are the key objectives and what support can you give
b) towards achieving them?
c) What personal values your boss thinks are important - for instance customer care. Work on
d) supporting these values and don't do things that are contrary to them. Be wary though of values
e) that are clearly of self-interest, such as personal status.
5. Clarify boundaries of responsibility
Sort out with your boss exactly what decisions you can make
a)After discussion with your boss
b)On your own but reporting to your boss afterwards
c)On your own with no need to report.
d)Lack of clarity can be a major source of conflict and friction.
6. Tackle the simple issues
Look through the problems you have identified and decide which are the simple issues to solve. Can small administrative problems be solved by introducing a simple new system? Discuss minor sensitivities (eg opening the office window, working in silence or with background noise) with your boss and try to reach a compromise. Don't waste time reporting unimportant issues which your boss would expect you to deal with as routine. Work overload is often a common cause of conflict. Don't take on work you can't manage. Be honest but remember your manager's objectives and always suggest an alternative solution. Don't underestimate yourself or your point of view. If you don't have faith in your ability to do a good job and develop in your role, your boss certainly won't.
7. Tackle longer term issues with assertiveness
Some blockages can't be removed overnight. Concentrate on building up a stronger relationshipwith your boss by being assertive but not aggressive. Express your point of view, respect yourboss's opinions and work to find mutually acceptable solutions to existing problems. This will improve the value of your relationship and help you to handle difficult situations more effectively in the future. Don't go over your boss's head however attractive this may seem. If you feel blocked, tackle the issues directly to avoid creating other problems later.
8. Focus on loyalty and support
Concentrate on supporting the weak spots in your boss's make up without making it too obvious you are doing so. Find out what parts of the business they enjoy and are good at, and those s/he doesn't like doing or perhaps doesn't have the skills to deal with. Make yourself indispensable. Show you are keen to learn skills which complement your boss's skills. Win their trust by achieving things they value. Together you can become a winning team.
SKILLS FOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
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