(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.

Success. What’s Your Definition?

By Kathleen E. Murphy

It’s the time of year when many students will be graduating from either high school or college, or perhaps from some other program format which will be handing them a diploma. With this type of achievement, particularly for college or other program graduates (e.g., trade schools), it naturally brings on the age-old question of “what will you be doing afterwards”? My first thought when I hear this question is why can’t people skip this question and accept the act of graduating is in fact an act of success itself? I think they do, but it should be further recognized and celebrated for longer than simply the graduation ceremony. This brings me to the point of thinking through what are the elements which define success?

Fast forward past graduation and into the “working world”. Here’s where many people begin to stress out about how they are defining themselves from a success perspective, and here are some samples of what may be going through their brains…..have I accepted a position at the right company, am I on the “fast track” to move up the career ladder, am I networking with the right people, or enough people? These are some of the questions early in their career people are thinking about, and this may not be the best use of their energy. I say this because if you study truly successful people, it really doesn’t fully matter what you are doing early on in your career. The point is to do the best you can do in the role you are in, and to leverage this role as a stepping stone, unless you are in a field which requires a strictly defined path (e.g., nursing, engineering, teaching).

Success can be defined many ways, and I challenge you not to be boxed-in and limited by others, or via the more traditional methods of how success in numerous first world countries is defined (e.g., money, fame, status). Instead, try a new perspective and think about success in smaller more “bite size” pieces, and in terms of achieving success by other methods. A few to consider are ones such as your health (e.g., mental and physical), how genuine your friendships are and how long they have lasted, whether you have a family or network to support you in times of celebration or crisis and how much freedom you have to make choices in your life which can make each day better, or another person’s life better because of you being in it.

Yes, success is often thought of in monetary terms of status and achievement, but what if money and status did not matter? Could you then define success as achieving happiness each day, or perhaps everyone on the planet being kind and accepting of each other? Perhaps success could be defined simply by ticking off all the boxes on your “to do list” each day, or teaching another person about something they did not know? The point I am making is to stop stressing out about how success is defined by others, or by the standards you have had ingrained into you since you were a young child. Take time to create your own definition of success, and do not empower others to do this for you. You will only end up being disappointed, as someone else’s definition of success is always going to be different from your own. Stop comparing yourself to others. Think about this for a moment. I did, and it made all the difference in the world to me. I hope it does for you as well.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket 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.