3 Ways to Manage Your Boss and Stay Sane

Be honest, have you moaned about your boss today? this week? or this month? Many of us do, and some with good cause. The fact remains though; you need your boss more than your boss needs you. If you are in a difficult relationship with your boss you only really have two choices a) learn how to make it work as well as possible or b) leave.

Before you pack up your desk and shout “I’m out of here!” just remember, it’s a tough market out there, and bear in mind, your boss will insist he or she had to let you go because you just weren’t cutting the mustard.

So you decide to stay. What can you do?

Manage expectations

As you progress up the organisation your boss is less likely to be able to accurately manage and measure your workload and outputs, so may just keep piling on the work until you finally buckle. That’s why you need to be really clear about what you can do, and by when, even if you dread having that potentially difficult conversation. When you agree expectations early, and revisit them often, it will save you from the even more difficult conversations when you are consistently failing to deliver results within the set deadlines.

Enlist the support of others

Identify and build strong relationships with other senior managers and influencers in the organisation. They may be people who seem to deal well with your boss, who you can learn from or ask advice. They may even be in a position to have a word directly with your boss, but only once you have won their trust and are not seen as a whinger or manipulator. If all else fails they may be a safety net that allows you to change department and work for them in the future.

Manage yourself

Be aware that you are communicating every second of every day, even when you aren’t speaking. Make sure the message you are communicating is a positive one. When you show you are anxious, angry or stressed it can be detrimental to your credibility as a leader, has a bad effect on your health and well-being and will undermine the performance of your team, which in turn leads to more problems with the boss. Do whatever it takes to get support for yourself, stay positive and energised in your interactions, and supportive of your team.

What strategies have you used to manage upwards?

2 Responses to 3 Ways to Manage Your Boss and Stay Sane

  • Thanks for your contribution Devin. Glad you agree on the importance of good two way communication.

  • “When you agree expectations early, and revisit them often, it will save you from the even more difficult conversations when you are consistently failing to deliver results within the set deadlines.”- This is such a good point. In order to be a successful employee you need to learn how to communicate in both directions. If you are not letting your boss or supervisor know how projects are going and when they can expect stuff done by, then you are going to keep struggling. You may be worried about the conversation that you will have to have, but in the end it will be better for everybody.

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