How To Manage Your Boss

How To Manage Your Boss

Over two-thirds of the people surveyed in a recent Gallup Poll indicated they voluntarily quit their jobs because they felt their manager wasn’t doing a good job.   In other words, they didn’t quit their company….they quit their BOSS!

Anyone who has been a boss knows that his or her actions as a boss not only impact the employee, but also what happens in the employee’s home and the dinner table.

If you work for a company, I’m sure you’ve been there.  You may see it as a helpless feeling.  The company is a perfect fit for what you want to do with your career, but the man or woman to whom you report is a direct roadblock on the path to your happiness.   You don’t want to quit your job, or maybe you can’t afford to quit your job.

“What am I supposed to do,” you may think to yourself, “Fire my boss?” While you probably can’t actually fire your boss, you CAN manage him or her.

Flipping the script on who manages who is the perfect chance for you to take back control of your job. While the actual, literal chain of command won’t change…..he or she is STILL your boss… can at least manage the circumstances of your situation to the point where you can maximize your skill set in order to succeed.

Based on my experiences, the ability to successfully manage the manger centers around three core concepts.

1.     Clear and Reasonable Expectations – I’m a data guy at heart.  I like metrics, and am often leery of business elements that cannot be measured in some way.

You should be the same way when it comes to the expectations your boss has for you.  Get this in writing….NOW!  If your boss doesn’t have a written set of expectations for you, come up with your own, and ensure that your boss gives it the OK.  These expectations should be measurable and quantifiable.  They should lay out a plan for what you are expected to do for the next 12 months or so, drilling down to quarterly, monthly, weekly, or daily, as needed.  They should be something you can refer to at any point along the way to determine if you’re on your way to meeting these expectation, or, failing that, what you need to do to get there.

Most importantly, these expectations need to be reasonable.    You know the level at which you are capable of performing.  Your boss knows the level at which he or she expects you to perform.  Rarely are these two levels in alignment from Day One, as it takes a feeling out process to establish what level works for both parties.  Once the expectations are laid out, work closely and communicate frequently with your boss, especially early on, to ensure that you’re both on the same page, and customize a plan to get you at the “win-win” level you can both be happy with.

2.     Respect – Remember those adages that your parents instilled in you growing up?   Especially the one about “Treat others as you, yourself, would like to be treated”?

The same holds true for a corporate environment.  Would you dare talk down to your boss, or act disrespectful?  Probably not.   So you shouldn’t tolerate or accept any instance where your boss talks down, or acts disrespectful to you.

If you find this happening in your company, take control of the situation.   Find a one-on-one setting in which you can tell your boss that his or her behavior is not acceptable in that situation.

Same goes for any corrective feedback that your boss wishes to share with you.  If your boss has an issue with an element of your performance, instead of taking it public to other managers or employees, ensure that you are more than willing to listen to any corrective feedback he or she wants to share with you, so long as it’s in a private, one-on-one setting.

3.     Integrity – While most any company possesses a sense of integrity at its core at all times, it is a must-do for EVERYBODY in the company to conduct  themselves with integrity around the clock, starting with the company’s leadership to lead by example.  If this does NOT happen, and a leader doesn’t conduct him- or herself with the utmost integrity, you MUST communicate this to that boss ASAP.   Let that person privately know that you’re not OK with the situation at hand.  If you feel that your comments are falling on deaf ears, then don’t hesitate to take your ideas to another channel in the organization, such as HR.  It’s the primary purpose of that department, after all.

This policy should extend to your customer and client base as well.  As long as the integrity is being upheld on both sides of the coin, act as if the customer or client is ALWAYS right.  Never forget this.   But if you think the client is jeopardizing integrity, then it’s time to huddle up with your team and plan a set strategy going forward.

These are three of the ways in which YOU can take control of your situation at work, and manage YOUR boss.

Got any other recommendations on managing your boss?   Send me an email at, or call me during the show.   I’d LOVE to hear from you !