“Managing Up” When Your Boss Has You Down

Do you love your job, but hate your boss?

If you don’t manage your relationship with your boss, it will manage you…out!!!

Unfortunately, many employees face this problem and might even quit their jobs despite the fact that they may really love the companies they work for and the positions they hold. This dilemma prevents them from realizing their full potential, contributing value to their organizations, and most importantly, looking forward to getting up each morning.

Whether it’s the bully boss, the micromanager, the clueless wonder, the ego-maniac, the blamer, the credit-taker, the walking time bomb, the mind-changer, the brown-noser, or the “you have to be psychic to know what he wants” boss, any of these individuals can make you miserable. While they may be the problem, they’re your problem and you must be the solution. The call to action is to “manage up” and to become active in your own rescue – salvaging not just your relationship with your boss/manager, but capturing opportunity for significant career growth and financial success.

“Managing up” is not kissing up or believing you can manipulate the situation. But, it is your job to deliberately discover and implement ways to most effectively work with your boss to deliver the best possible results for all the stakeholders involved.

Having suffered and survived more than my share of ‘difficult’ bosses and learned the art of “managing up,” I share with you today, three of my best tips to put this process on a fast track:

  • Put Yourself In Your Manager’s Shoes So She Doesn’t Give You The Boot

    Alignment with your boss’s interests and strategic goals are critical to your success. The more you serve that master, not just your boss, the more likely you are to get her attention. She is your audience of one. Forget being interesting. Be interested in what’s in it for her because that’s what she’ll be interested in. Your job is to align with her interests, not the other way around.

    If you don’t know the strategic goals and interests of your boss, be proactive in discovering them. Own and digest them because they have to be fully integrated into your process. This may ultimately mean communicating with your boss to learn, understand, and better appreciate her strategic objectives.

    In these communications, it’s best to adapt your communication style to that of your boss. Does she prefer in person communication? Email? Phone? How often? What’s the best time to check in with her? Is she big picture only or does she want the details? Taking the initiative to ask these questions shows commitment, respect and maturity.

  • Demonstrate You Have Skin In The Game – Whether It’s Good News Or Bad

    Building trust is a tool of high priority that serves you in good times and in bad. Trust is earned. It’s not just what you do when your boss is looking which builds reputation, but it’s how and what you do when he’ s not looking that builds your character, which means your authenticity will shine through.

    The more you convey through your actions that you are trustworthy, the more confidence your manager will have in giving you greater responsibility and recognition. This means that you don’t just deliver problems, but solutions. This type of transparency deepens a trusting relationship.

    If there is a problem between your boss and yourself that rises to the monumental level, before you resort to going to your boss’s boss to resolve it, a perilous exercise to say the least, exhaust every possibility for direct communication with him, as uncomfortable as it may be. If all else fails, seek insight from a mentor you trust, or in prior to the last resort, the HR department for assistance.

  • Gather The Troops

    Find natural evangelizers and apostles to support your position inside the organization. Let them help carry the baggage on issues that are difficult between you and your boss. You don’t have to go to Defcon 4 with him, as this tactic will create new voices for your boss to hear and he’ll connect the dots. Even the boss has to listen to multiple voices exhorting a point of view. Your boss didn’t get where he is by accident and this is one way to avoid youraccident. It helps to prevent you from being singularly confrontational and easily dismissed.

Warning: Failing to “manage up” successfully may be dangerous to your business health. Do not fail to recognize this. The key is to not quit, but to find another arena and opportunity for your talents and skill sets where you can find a boss you respect and who respects you, your work ethic and your product.

My Best Mistake: Turning Naysayers To Yeasayers

View Article

Infect Your Organization To Affect Your Organization

View Article