I recently stumbled across an article on CareerBuilder titled “How to Get the Boss to do What You Want.” Rachel Farrell, author of the article, explains the concept of managing up. If you’re already doing great things for your boss – which you undoubtedly are – then the next step is managing your relationship with your boss so that he can do good things for you, too.
Most employees answer to multiple bosses, some directly and others indirectly, says Bruce Tugan, author of “It’s Okay to Be the Boss.” Being pulled in different directions by contending authority figures with competing interests and agendas is hard because all of them have the ability to improve or worsen your daily work conditions, your chances of getting rewards and your long-term career prospects.
According to Tugan, under these circumstances, you are the only one you can control. You can control both your role and conduct in each of these relationships. Tulgan says, “You can control how you manage and how you get what you need from these relationships. You have no choice: If you want to survive, succeed and prosper, you have to get really good at managing your bosses.”
You rely more on your immediate boss than any other individual for meeting your basic needs and expectations at work. Tulgan explains, “Remember, you rely on your immediate boss more than any other individual for meeting your basic needs and expectations at work. The boss defines your work experience. To become and remain a consistent high performer, you need bosses who are strong and highly engaged, who know exactly who you are and exactly what you are doing every step of the way. You need strong bosses, so you are going to have to help them get there. That means you need to take charge and start managing your boss. You need to take responsibility for your role and your conduct in every single management relationship with every single boss.”
To manage your boss, or get him to do what you want, you will need to have a strategy. You shouldn’t try to manage your boss in some kind of tricky way to that he doesn’t notice. You will need to talk with your boss and establish clear ground rules for how you are going to work together and how you are going to get what you need. Tulgan says, “Be the employee who says to every boss, ‘Great news, I’m going to take responsibility for my part of this management relationship! Count on me. With your help, I’m going to be really valuable to you!”
Tulgan offers 7 steps to the basics of managing your boss:
- The first person you have to manage every day is yourself.
- Get in the habit of managing your boss every day.
- Take it one boss at a time, one day at a time.
- Get clear expectations from your boss every step of the way.
- Get your hands on the resources you need to succeed.
- Track your performance every step of the way.
- Go the extra mile to earn credit and more rewards.