How to Manage Your Manager

manage your manager

Is it possible, and necessary, to manage your manager? Your work is hard enough to manage, and now you realize that you need to manage your boss too. Managing your boss is about understanding how he or she works. Here are some suggestions to help you:

Accept the fact that your boss is there to direct your activities. You may think you are smarter than him, but the fact remains that he is the one with the authority—accept this reality, even if he is the most obnoxious person you’ve ever met.

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Try to understand your boss. To do this, you should be aware of his goals, objectives, pressures and issues surrounding him, his strengths, weaknesses and blind spots, as well as his preferred working style. You may represent only 1% of your boss’ problem, so try to see the bigger picture.

Don’t change your boss, and don’t expect perfection. Managers are people too. They can make mistakes and have different quirks and uniqueness. Recognize what pushes your boss’ buttons, and don’t push tem! You cannot change your boss’ odd habits. If your boss is an intelligent person who is wonderful to work with, be grateful. If not, lower your expectations.

Do not assume that your manager knows as much as you do. Assume he can understand, so educate him. When it comes to micro-decisions, your point of references are different—you spend all your time working on it and your boss does not because he is busy with more strategic issues. Explain to him by simplifying. With this, you create understanding, and understanding leads to trust and better decision-making.

Do not make promises that you cannot deliver. Trust does not develop overnight so be careful when you when you promise dates for finishing projects you cannot handle. If you think too much is asked of you, speak up and re-discuss your priorities with him.

Manage differences in culture and perception. What are the values that your manager cherishes? What are his personal inclinations and personal bias? What is his communication style? Is he results- or process-oriented? If you are process-oriented, you would probably present issues in a systematic, chronological way. However, if your boss is results-oriented or action-type, it would be better to present issues by summarizing and highlighting key actions and results.

Do not be careless with your documentation tasks. It’s a simple rule yet it greatly affects your boss’ reliance and trust on you. Do not assume that your boss will check what we write, or change something in our documents. By not finalizing your documents accurately, you will soon discover that your boss does not want to delegate tasks to you. And before you know it, he no longer needs you.

Each manager is different. They have their own leadership styles. Study their style and see what makes them happy. Make your boss look good by producing quality work. Don’t complain to other about your boss for it will only create negative vibes. Compliment your boss from time to time. Remember that work is easier for you and your colleagues if you manage your manager effectively.

Still unsure about how to manage your manager? Here are few tips on how to deal with a difficult manager.


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