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Manage Your Boss – Really!

There Are Some Things You Can Do To Work Well With Your Boss.

By Steve Schumacher

Most books and articles about management talk about how bosses can get the most out of their employees. The concepts of goal-setting, feedback, correction, communication skills and positive reinforcement are not new to most managers.

Did you ever think that the same skills that work for employees will work for your boss also?

Certainly, you as an employee are responsible for high levels of performance and having a good attitude. In order to accomplish both of those, there are certain things that your boss must do to help you develop and stay on track.

The average manager today has 13 direct reports. Given that fact, it is difficult for every manager to stay on track with how all of their direct reports are doing and what they need to prosper. Take the initiative and help your boss help you by doing some of the following things:

Be proactive. Do not wait for your boss to constantly give you direction. Figure out what needs to be done and move forward. Certainly, you want to check in with your boss to make sure you are on track, but show that you are thinking ahead.

When you see some challenges to accomplishing a project or meeting a deadline, give your boss a heads-up. By consistently acting on your own, without constant direction from your boss, you will be setting the environment for personal freedom on the job.

Be a good listener. When your boss is speaking to you, do not just say “yes, sir” and follow blindly. Ask good questions of what is expected of you before you start on a new task. If you are unclear on what is expected, ask for clarification.

Stay engaged during conversations. Take the time to actively listen in all situations – meetings and one-on-one.

Give feedback. The higher a person gets in management, the less honest feedback they get. When your boss does something that works out well, give some feedback.

The same applies to situations where things go wrong. A good leader will welcome the feedback, as long as it is delivered in a professional, non-personal manner.

Say thank you for feedback. One of the sure signs of a high performer is simply saying thank you for feedback, positive or negative. Many people come up with reasons to justify what they did or get defensive. You may have those thoughts, but keep them to yourself.

When your boss takes the time to let you know how you are doing, show your appreciation for the input.

Respect their time. Everyone is busy. When you schedule a meeting with your boss, have an agenda completed in advance and share it with your boss. Stick as close to the agenda as possible.

If your boss wants to adjust the agenda or go long, that is their prerogative. Accept that and adjust your time and agenda accordingly. Showing good time management skills will go a long way in having your boss respect your time, as well.

Volunteer. When your boss asks for someone to step up and take on a project, volunteer. Doing that shows initiative and a willingness to take a risk. Both of those are traits that bosses look for in their employees.

Yes, you may be perceived as a kiss-up by your peers if you do it too much. Volunteer just enough to show the boss you are a go-getter, but too much may alienate other employees.

Exceed expectations. Go beyond what your boss expects. Complete tasks early, exceed goals, take on more than other employees. Let your boss know that you are the go-to person on the team that they can count on to go over and above.

Being a good employee is something that everyone should strive for. The rare employee is the one that knows what to do that truly impresses the boss. It does not mean that you are the boss’s pet; but that you are clearly a valued employee that your boss will consider for raises, bonuses and promotions.