This is a two-part article - so make sure you click through to Part 2 when you get to the end of this page.
Here are a few clues that managing your boss is a skill you may need to develop:
- You aren't looking forward to going to work and interacting with your boss
- You feel the hairs on your body stand on end when s/he comes toward you
- You are starting to feel that no matter what you do it isn't good enough
- You have a bigger work load than you have capacity for and things are starting to slip
- You are consistently working late into the night and on weekends
What Not To Do When Managing Your Boss
Here are some ways of managing your boss that are worth avoiding:
Assigning 100% of the blame on your boss
You are probably contributing something to the situation. So accept responsibility for your part in successfully managing your boss.
Could it be that you haven't been completing the work to the standard expected? Or maybe you are overwhelmed with the volume of work and you haven't had a conversation with your boss along the lines of where you are giving priority and what is slipping through the cracks.
I have shown a number of my coaching clients a process they can use, to sit with their boss and work through the challenges they are facing. They are able to come up with an agreement that enables them to be less overwhelmed/pressured by what they have to do AND their boss is comfortable and onboard with the agreement.
Complaining to everyone else except your boss
Those you are complaining to generally can't fix the problem. If you are guilty of this then you must stop it ... if you want others to take you and your career seriously.
You weaken your reputation and your soul when you gossip and complain. Nobody likes being around people like that. Instead you should discuss with another person (someone who is not intimately involved and has an unbiased view of the situation - like a coach) strategies for dealing with your boss and making the relationship healthy.
Giving your boss a piece of your mind ...
when you are in a high state of emotion - it will only escalate the situation.
Convincing yourself that you should get another job
Unless you are absolutely 100% sure that you aren't contributing at all to the situation (most unlikely) - you go with you and so does the problem.
For example, maybe you aren't as dedicated to your work as you should be. Or maybe you've been complaining to others, instead of speaking directly with your boss.
If you are lazy or avoid confrontations at all costs, you'll take those traits with you and probably in a short space of time you'll end up in a similar situation.
Not asking for his/her opinion of you
(see Part 2 for what to do).
Saying Yes to everything they ask of you
you'll probably end up under-delivering and then they'll jump more on your case. You can manage up and work with your boss so that you don't take on too much.
Ignoring or not saying anything about their poor behavior
No denying it, this one's a challenge - see Part 2 of this article for more details on how to get better at confronting your boss - but if you don't address their poor behavior you are asking for havoc.
Not making sure you understand the key home runs ...
you need to hit in order for him/her to see you as successful. (Your job description and what the boss wants from you can be two distinctly different things).
Jumping the Chain of Command
This will probably only increase conflict between you and your boss and you may even suffer some retribution. Only use it as a last resort.
Trying to hide problems
You'll end up in deeper water and definitely with your boat sinking.
Giving up after your first attempt ...
at getting your boss to modify his/her behavior - - Rome wasn't built in a day, the Titanic couldn't be turned on a dime! Don't expect your boss (or anyone else, for that matter) to change from one conversation.
So, now that we've covered what NOT to do when managing your boss, let's go to Part 2 of this article and get the next 12 tips that will guide you through how to manage your boss. Make sure you watch the video, at the end of the article, on the cost of a bad boss - it is both entertaining and enlightening!
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