Joni Daniels

Succeed with the Boss

Once upon a time (also known as the ‘old days’), companies operated from the top down. The boss told you what to do and you did it. Today, professionals are encouraged to show initiative and many don’t wait for the boss to make a decision or provide direction. With the pressures and constraints the boss is working with in our ‘get  done more with less’ workplace, workers need to work together with their boss, not simply for their boss.

What that requires from employees at every level is a skill set that allows them to manage the boss effectively. Effective communication is an essential part of managing another person. It doesn’t matter whether you are managing down, laterally, or up, and your organizational level won’t matter that much either. Managing a boss requires understanding the world in which they operate, their needs as an individual, their strengths and weaknesses, and the pressures and constraints they deal with on the job.

I provide one-on-one consulting with people who are work with a boss they find especially challenging. One client told me that in 25 years of work, they had never encountered this situation before. My response was “And now you have.” No matter how long you’ve been a professional, how old you are, or how varied you life experiences – there can be times when a new person or situation encountered can create a hurdle. It can be frustrating. It can even create anger, fear, or resentment. But wishing for things (them!) to be different is a poor strategy won’t create a satisfactory solution.

Some ideas about how can you develop this essential skill set and manage your boss more successfully:

To manage a boss successfully, the first step is to stop hoping for them to be a different person.