Managing Your Manager

Improving the Relationship with your Boss


Among the most important relationships that you need to work on in your life is the relationship with your boss. Yet, there is a lot of support and information about managing your subordinates but not your boss. A gross omission! Managing your boss is a critical skill that contributes to the success of not only your boss and peers but also your own success. It can be quite a daunting task managing a difficult boss, but this does not mean that it is not possible. So let us look at 3 steps that can improve this relationship.


1.    Take charge

Stop the blame game! If you are having problems with the boss, then it is your responsibility to work out that relationship. You cannot change your boss (or anyone else). It is easier adjusting your own approaches than expecting your boss to change, so brainstorm and figure out what changes you are okay making.  I’m not saying to be someone you’re not, but rather change your strategy in how you interact.  Think about different ways to initiate contact, different ways to engage or ask questions, and new ways to make requests.  Make a firm commitment to work out any issues between you and your boss and take action.


2.    Understand their expectations

It is very important to know what is expected of you. Engage in regular meetings with your boss to keep him/her in the loop on your activities and accomplishments. This approach largely depends on what management style your boss is using. There are bosses who prefer micromanaging; there are others who use the laisse-faire approach, and others who are very democratic in their leadership. Be keen, learn how your boss operates, and adapt to his/her management style. If you are unsure, mimic the approach someone who successfully interacts with your boss takes.  Again, don’t be someone you’re not, but be aware of how you can adapt to different personalities.


3.    Focus on your work

You have taken charge and you know what is expected of you, so work!  That is why you are being paid. Do what you are expected and do it very well.  Most bosses cherish workers who take initiative and perform beyond expectations.  Make yourself invaluable with not only your responsibilities, but also, the way you perform those assigned duties. Again, keep track of your accomplishments and don’t go around bragging, but do take valid opportunities to point out your contributions.


It may be prudent to seek advice from someone who understands the boss better than you, but remember going over your boss’s head will usually backfire.  In some cases, when you’ve tried your best, solving your differences with the manager might be impossible. In such a scenario, it is better to be honest with yourself and consider moving to another department or to another company. It is better to make the move first than chance getting fired.


By Anjela Mangrum, the founder of Mangrum Career Solutions Inc.  MCS partners with industrial and automation manufacturing businesses to source and secure transformational leaders for critical hiring needs in Operations and Supply Chain.  They work to empower individual job seekers by helping them gain a competitive edge in their job search. For hiring needs contact Anjela at 513.753.3813 x17.


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