How to manage your boss for career success

How to Manage your Boss for Career Success

With all of the attention today on learning how to manage your career, it’s surprising that one of the most critical skills you need to get ahead doesn’t get much attention. That skill is the fine art of managing your boss.

Over the course of your career, you’ll have some great bosses and some who aren’t so good. Some may be unsupportive, some may not give you the credit you deserve for your work, and some may even take out their own frustrations on you.

While few situations are as discouraging as having an incompetent boss or one who regularly finds fault with you, the good news is that most bosses really want to do their best. Often the right skills can help you manage your boss and turn a marginal relationship into a more productive one.


If you want to influence the outcome of your relationship with your boss, you have to take responsibility. If you wait around for your boss to make the first move, you may miss out on important opportunities.

Here are some action steps you can take RIGHT NOW to build a more productive and rewarding relationship with your boss:

1. KNOW YOUR BOSS’S PRIORITIES – Your boss’s opinion of you is critical. Linking your activities to what matters most to him or her makes you a more valuable team member. It also helps you make better decisions about how to spend your time.

This doesn’t mean that you need to agree with everything your boss says. When properly handled, disagreements can build your credibility and gain you greater support. Just make sure that both you and your boss are aiming for the same goals.

2. ASK WIIFH? – Before you present ideas to your boss, ask, “What’s in it for him?” Think about how your objectives further your boss’s goals and priorities. If you can demonstrate how your ideas will benefit your boss, you’re far more likely to get the support you want.

3. UNDER-PROMISE & OVER-DELIVER – It’s natural to want to impress your boss by making big promises. However, no matter how much you actually accomplish, if you don’t live up to the expectations you set, you can’t help but damage your reputation. When you exceed expectations, you build credibility in the eyes of the people who count.

4. DON’T FOCUS ONLY ON PROBLEMS – Yes, your boss is busy. But just because you’re lucky to get a few moments, doesn’t mean you should focus only on difficulties. Make sure you regularly discuss positive performance and future plans.

5. OFFER SOLUTIONS – Never take a problem to your boss without offering 2 or 3 possible solutions at the same time. This gives you an opportunity to showcase your problem-solving ability. And if you simply want your boss’s input on a problem, be sure to make that clear. Otherwise you boss may feel that you are trying to transfer your problem to her.

6. ASK FOR FEEDBACK – One of the hallmarks of top performers is their habit of seeking out criticism to help them improve their performance. While compliments are always nice to receive, if you want to advance rapidly in your career, constructive criticism from your boss is often more useful. If your boss doesn’t coach regularly, be sure to ask about ways that you can improve your performance.

Practically everything you achieve in your career, you will achieve through working with others. Your future success depends greatly on your ability to effectively manage relationships with your boss, your peers, your subordinates and your customers.

Today, relationship strategies rule the world. To become a rising star in your career you must learn and apply them. When you master these strategies for managing your boss you’ll find it easier to get support for your objectives. You’ll be able to earn more, get promoted faster, and ultimately achieve the career success you want.

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