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Manage Your Boss For A Change

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The major complaints that employees have can be solved at the employee / boss level. The employee needs to take an active role in the relationship. Try not to wait for your boss to change his/her response to you; change your response to your boss. Instead of a passive non-response, determine how you will approach your boss based on your understanding of their management style. If you have been following these columns, you have learned that there are four management/leadership styles: Driver, Expressive, Analytical and Amiable. You cannot control your boss, but you can control your own attitudes, emotions and work style. Think of yourself as the manager – because you are, in this case!

Your attitude is important! A negative, accusatory or disgruntled attitude will only make things worse. Don’t try to approach your boss when you are angry. That only leads to bad feelings. It is all about timing. Ask your boss when the two of you can talk without interruption. You might say, “I would like to talk about how I can do my job better. This could benefit both of us. Do you have some time this week when we could talk? I would really be interested in your input.” When you meet with your boss, know ahead of time what you plan to talk about. If you need to point out a problem area, especially if it concerns the boss, offer a suggestion as to how you could help solve the issue.

Empathy and understanding is a two-way street. Put yourself in your boss’s shoes. Is your boss under a lot of pressure? Since more and more companies are bottom-line oriented in these economically troubled times, they have lost site of the long-term benefits of having caring, people-oriented managers. Your boss may sincerely want to make things better, but feels frustrated in their current bottom-line oriented organization.

Offer support and it will likely be returned. Ask what you can do to help make his/her job easier. Be willing to take on some tasks that you may not like. This doesn’t mean you’re a doormat and the boss has permission to dump all their problems on you. Later, you may get the opportunity to do something you really want to do. You can try making an exchange. Maybe your boss’s desk is piled too high! This is just one more stressor. Offer to help your boss with “part of the pile.” You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

If you can show your boss that you are willing to give as much effort as possible, you will earn their respect. This is especially true in difficult relationships. The feedback you give your boss may be just the information needed. When your motives are sincere, you won’t be afraid to speak up. Once the dialogue is opened, don’t let it lose momentum. When you and your boss have set some goals, check to see how things are progressing. You might want to take a few minutes after work once a week to check in. Your boss will know that you mean business and that your efforts were not just a momentary whim.

When communicating with your boss, try to remember:

1.¬†Develop an easily implemented “want-list” for your boss.

2. Even though your boss may not openly appreciate you, turn the tables and give your boss sincere, appropriate appreciation. Make sure it is sincere. People know when it is not real.

3. Do not be demanding. Be assertive, but not aggressive. Be willing to negotiate “needs” with your boss.

4. Be open and honest. It is one thing if you express your needs to your boss and s/he doesn’t meet them; it’s another thing if you never express your needs at all! Your boss is not a mind reader.

The employee and the boss must have a reciprocal relationship. Your boss will never forget if you are the employee that makes their life easier.


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