(5) Tips on How to Manage Your Boss

Unless you are your own boss, you have probably uttered the words, or thought to yourself at one point or another, that your boss is driving you crazy. You may have muttered this under your breath, or shared this comment with a colleague, or someone outside your work circle.

Based on the dynamics of the typical boss and subordinate roles, it is quite likely that you will be annoyed by your boss now and then. This is normal, especially since the work is mainly flowing your way, without the ability to decline or limit the amount of assignments coming your way. Or is there?

Perhaps you have heard that everything is negotiable? It really is, but not everyone feels comfortable negotiating, so they simply accept the work that flows their way.

Those who have developed negotiating skills, even minor ones, tend to be much more satisfied with their bosses. Why? Because they are indirectly managing the situation. The best part of having a negotiating conversation with your boss, is that they may not be aware of the fact they are being managed by you.

So, if you are thinking, I do not like to negotiate, and my communication or debating skills are not up to the task, keep reading.

Similar to the belief that everyone has creative skills, if you can talk, you have to ability to also develop your negotiation skills.

At its most basic level, negotiating is about asking questions. You can do that! By asking questions about the assignment, your boss will be forced to confront whether what he or she is asking has been fully thought through.

You might be surprised how many times they have not thought through what they are asking you to accomplish, and are only serving as a middle man pushing assignments down from above. Negotiating also allows you to gain clarity on aspects of work (e.g., timeframe flexibility, who else can or should be involved, how is the success of the project outcome to be measured).

Here are five tips on how to manage your boss.

  1. At the beginning of the week, assess the mood of your boss. You can typically do this by having a brief conversation on Monday morning, or by checking in with one of your colleagues. If they are in a less than favorable mood, leave them alone until mid-day and then reassess. Monday mornings can be stressful. The beginning of the week is a popular time when the upper management team meets with your boss to review the status of how the business is going. Even if the stats are on track, this can impact the mood of your boss.

 

  1. Make sure you have a weekly assigned time to check in with your boss, even if it is for only 10 minutes each day, or once a week for 30 minutes. During any of these sessions, make sure you have set the agenda are driving the conversation. Setting the agenda puts you in charge. In essence, you are managing your boss.

 

  1. Clarify monthly or quarterly expectations. This is a critical component to managing your boss. As long as you are clear about the project and results of the work you are doing, and making sure during your weekly meetings that priorities have not changed, you will be in strong alignment with their expectations.

 

  1. Get to know your boss. Take time to go out to lunch or coffee with him or her once or twice a month to have a non-work conversation. If you do not do this, you run the risk of them not seeing you as a whole person, with other dimensions of your personality they may not be able to observe in the office. More and more people work remotely and may not have too many opportunities to meet with their boss in person, but when you do, make sure you go through this same exercise.

 

  1. Ask your boss to articulate how you can help them with your professional contributions to make them look good. This may seem awkward, but ask anyway, as most people do not know the answer, and may, in fact, be entirely wrong by making incorrect assumptions. Get the facts, work with them – another key way of managing your boss.

Depending on your career level, some of these suggestions would need to be modified, but most of these techniques actually can and will work. They have been applied successfully by people who are just starting out, all the way to the highest “C” level executives.

Managing your boss is a concept from which just about everyone can benefit. Test drive some of them and see if they work for you.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging teams (sports & business). What does this do for our clients? It provides them with an acceleration boost to reach their goals sooner, and interact with a renewed efficiency, focus and energy level.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

Does it matter how much presence you have?

Some people have presence because they speak loudly, or because they are trying to have presence. This is what I would refer to as having a false sense of presence. Conversely, the quiet person may have the greatest presence because they have gained tenure and the trust of others based on their life experiences.  Presence can be perceived from both a physical point of view, versus a philosophical point of view, as renowned entrepreneur and Forbes Magazine publisher, Malcom Forbes once said, “Presence is more than just being there.”

So, is it possible not to have presence? This sounds fairly philosophical, but in reality, everyone has presence. Boiling this down to the simplest concept, the difference between people is how much presence they have, and whether having presence is situational, or sustained. Another way of looking at the concept of presence, is whether it is different based on gender, age or geographic location. Taking this concept one step further, does it matter how much presence you have?

Thinking of presence as a physical concept, it may be easier to determine whether someone does or does not command a large sense of presence, or whether they simply are present. Does having presence or a greater amount of it gain you anything? In my opinion, I think it does. An example of this is when either actual leaders or perceived leaders or people who are around others, draw them in with their presence, and are able to influence them positively or negatively. This is potentially because they wield a sense of natural charisma, or command of others attention. People who have a sense of presence typically draw others to them, or others seek them out. Either party may or may not be aware of this happening. However, the people who are drawn to the individual with presence, would describe being drawn to the person with presence as a sense of magnetic pull.

Not being a scientist, but being a curious human, I wonder why would some people have more presence than others, and whether there are differences in the types of presence one can have. If presence is a physical attribute, perhaps it can be gained or lost over time? If the concept of presence is also more philosophical or situationally based, are the people with presence who are not defined as leaders, leaders in the making? In business, most leaders have a sense of presence, but there are clearly people who are not technically leaders who have a tremendous sense of presence among their peers.  Or, are these non-leader individuals at a juncture of becoming leaders given the right situation, timing and place?

If we agree everyone has presence, and it is a matter of how much on a measurement scale each person has, would you want to have an ability to gain more presence? Or, are you satisfied with the presence level you currently have? Lastly, have you given thought about whether you command a sense of presence when you are with others, or been told you have a strong sense of presence? I would enjoy hearing your thoughts about this topic, so drop me a note to let me know what you think.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com .