Manage your boss essay

Manage your boss essay

Manage your boss essay

Manage your boss essay
Executive Summary (1 page)
summarize the advice such that someone who has not listened to the podcast will be able to glean the main points. Please include the steps along with a brief explanation of each step. This section should be single-spaced. Present the summary in a format that will be easy for others that to read.
Up to 5 ref if needed but not necessary. Manage your boss essay.
Analysis of the Advice (2-3 pages)
think like an Industrial Psychologist, reflect on the advice, and offer your opinion on the validity of the advice they give in the podcast. Are their suggestions practical? Will they work in your organization? If you do not have a job, think about a student or volunteer organization you’re in. What advice can you immediately implement? How should you change your behavior to be in line with their suggestions? You do not have to answer all of these questions – these are merely suggestions for what to write about. Do not summarize their advice in this section. This section is to analyze the advice they gave. This section should be double-spaced. 5 ref. if needed but not necessarily. Manage your boss essay.
Managing Your Boss
We had intended to cover Managing Upwards back in December, during our sessions on
writing reviews. As it turned out, while we barely scratched the surface on how to do
reviews, it nevertheless took us FOUR casts. We didn’t want to delay those casts,
obviously, in light of their time sensitivity. So, we delayed this topic until now.
Managing Upwards for the most part boils down to Creating a Good Relationship with Your
Boss. There is a lot to be said about politics in organizations, and whom you should know
and whom you should stay in touch with. We’ve found that those topics don’t lend
themselves easily to a simple cast if we want to give you actionable guidance. That IS what
we’re about, after all. Manage your boss essay.
So, we’re going to focus on some things you can do that will help you improve your
relationship with your boss.
1. A True Story
2. The Basics.
a. Boss Goals
b. Boss Communications
c. Boss Schedule/Time Management
d. Boss Work style
e. Boss Relationships
©Manager Tools | Page 1
1. A True Story .
Mark recently worked with an Executive Vice President of a multi billion dollar service
company who had lost her job. To give you an idea of how different life is for senior
executives, for those of you who are not in that rarefied air yet, she wasn’t going to the
office, and technically hadn’t been fired…but it had been made clear she was no longer
employed. She stayed home for 2 and a half months, until the performance compensation
she was mostly entitled to were paid. She was paid salary while she was not working.
This executive had been with her firm for 21 years. She had worked largely in the back
office, and had created a record that was so stellar even Mark was impressed. Not only
had she hit home run after home run, in TOUGH situations, but she was one of the most
loved people in a large company he’s ever known. Everyone who ever worked for her loved
her. She was pretty clearly special. Big barbecues at her and her husband’s house were so
well known that they stopped inviting people and just told people to come on along (and
got it catered). Truly, a wonderfully successful, effective executive.
She was asked to take a special assignment not long ago, to “go fix” the financial systems
of the company. She was asked by the CEO, and even though she would report to the CFO,
it was pretty clear he had a mandate from the top.
In 30 days, she was fired…and hundreds if not thousands of managers in the company
were DEVASTATED. What happened? Manage your boss essay.
What happened was that she had thought that because the CEO sent her over, she could
actually make things happen and fix things. But she didn’t know/understand/appreciate
the CFO’s position. When she suggested to the CFO that a big re-org needed to be done,
the politically minded and nervous CFO walked into the CEOs office and described her as
power hungry and backstabbing, and then put together some half truths the CEO bought
This manager did the RIGHT THING.. and was fired because she didn’t understand her
boss. Didn’t know what he wanted, how we wanted it, when he wanted it, or who else he
needed to please. Manage your boss essay.
Don’t let this happen to you. | Managing Your Boss / p.2
©Manager Tools | Page 2
2. The Basics.
There are FIVE areas that we recommend you focus on in your relationship with your boss.
(By the way, it’s possible you’ll hear some of these topics repeated when we cover what to
do in the first 90 days on the job. however, we’ve discovered that managers tend to
dismiss things that they think don’t apply to them, so we’ve excluded those parts of this
topic that are only about starting out. These recommendations ALWAYS work, and are
worth revisiting annually.)
We list these topics in their order of importance to you, and the order in which you ought
to go about thinking about them. It’s not a rote one at a time process, of course. You’re
going to learn about all the topics at various times. This just suggests where your focus
should be, and what will help you the soonest. Manage your boss essay.
And remember, you’re unlikely to change your boss… so be ready to change yourself.
a. Boss Goals
This is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT thing you should know about your boss. And, its
likely you don’t know what these things are, except for those issues that relate to you
and your team. If you learn what your boss’s goals are, and which are most important to
him, you will be more effective at getting what you want from him. he will also perceive
you as sensitive to his needs and politically savvy.
This starts with asking, what are you responsible to YOUR boss for? What are your
revenue, cost, and profitability requirements? What metrics do they use to measure
you and by extension, me and my team supporting you? Which of those is most
important to you? What does your boss ask that is above and beyond or different than
what the org wants? What are your budget responsibilities? What do you have to create
your budget, and how long does it take? May I look at your budget to get me ready for
the next cycle (if you need to scrub it before I can see it, that’s fine.) What reporting are
you required to do on your budget, and when do you have to do it?
Continuing, you’ll note that above we focused on financials. Well, DUH. The quickest
way to trouble in most places is ignoring financials. An easy way to think about
responsibilities is to break them down into financials, operations, and people. | Managing Your Boss / p.3
©Manager Tools | Page 3
Remember, we’re looking for Goals and RESPONSIBIILITIES in these areas.
Once you’ve asked the financial questions, the people and operational questions are
much easier, and are much more company/industry dependent. On the other hand,
we’ve found that bosses tend to be much more forthcoming on other goals they have
once you ask, for the most part. And often, they just spill everything they’ve got as soon
as you ask.
The second part of this line of inquiry is “What’s my role in helping you achieve that?”
For each of the above questions, you can ask what your boss sees your role as being.
Now, you might be thinking, what do I DO? Just walk in and start asking away? Well, no,
not exactly. But, regardless of what time of year it is, or how long you’ve worked for
WITH YOUR BOSS TO LEARN THE ANSWERS. So, schedule a meeting with him/her, email
the questions in advance, and ask for as much detail as you can.
If you’ve worked for a boss for a while, we’ve found the best way to address the fact
that you know some of this is to send both the questions and those answers which you
know in advance. Having them written out will allow her to add/change/delete/leave
alone/save time.
If you’re wondering how to preface these questions, because you’re afraid you’re going
to be thought weird/stupid/incompetent… this is the way Mark recommends to clients:
“I’m doing an annual reassessment of my roles and goals, and want to include your
guidance…” Another that I’ve seen work is, “My professional development effort this
year is around being EFFECTIVE, and that means focusing on what’s most important…”
Okay, so you’re going to set up a meeting, email the questions in advance (with answers
you think you already know), and then take great notes in the meeting. If you think
you’re going to run over, bail out and ask for more time later. (This is because we’re
cleverly assuming you don’t know what his approach to time management is yet, not
having asked. ;-))) )
We consider this important enough that if you don’t konw all of her goals now, you | Managing Your Boss / p.4
©Manager Tools | Page 4
must within THRITY DAYS.
b. Boss Communications
This area seems pretty simple, and yet it is the one most often missed. We put it second
because you usually can’t ask directly, but it has BIG implications for every other area.
The sooner you start paying attention to your boss’s comm style, the sooner you’ll be
able to adapt. Manage your boss essay.
Peter Drucker has a clever way of thinking about this. In all his years of working with
managers, he discovered that they tend to learn (take in new information) with a
preference towards one of two ways: Listeners, and Readers. His simple technique for
using that bit of boss knowledge is summed up as, “if she’s a listener, brief her verbally
first, then follow up with a report. If he’s a reader, send a memo first, then follow up
with a briefing.” Manage your boss essay.
Wow simple!!!
To go a bit further. here are some questions to look for clues to.
Does he prefer voicemail or email? Do you get individual emails from him about work
that he could have just asked you about? Do you get long voicemails at night or on the
weekends? What does he choose to share in person? Is his comm channel choice
always a function of topic? Projects by email, announcements by vmail, operations in
meetings? It happens, and it’s confusing unless you know to think about it.
How does she run meetings? Tight agendas means more advance work for you. What
kind of sharing does she do from meetings she goes to? If not a lot, you’ll need to be
asking about them and their fallout.
When it comes to face to face: what are his verbal, Vocal and visual clues? Verbally, for
instance, does he tend to ask questions, or make statements? Take a seat, or would you
like to sit down? Does he tend to talk first, or a lot, or listen first, or more than talking?
Does he reserve opinions, or come right out with them?
Vocally, is her delivery steady and even? or noticeably varied? is it forceful or not (can
you see them giving a speech?) Is it lower than average volume, or up there? Is it faster | Managing Your Boss / p.5
©Manager Tools | Page 5
than you, or slower? (Forget about where they’re from.)
Visually, what kind of handshake – gentle or firm? Regular eye contact or intermittent?
Small gestures or big? What kind of colors in their clothes? Lots of facial expressions, or
few? Does he make contact with you or not?
It’s not necessary for you to MIMIC your boss – it will irritate her and make you look
foolish. But knowing where you’re different and moderating your differences will make
you ENORMOUSLY more effective. ENORMOUSLY. Besides smiling and being willing to
subordinate oneself to others, Mark believes that this awareness and moderation are
the most powerful interpersonal tools he uses every day.
c. Boss Schedule/Time Management
This is one that you really don’t HAVE to ask about… you’ll learn it pretty quickly if you
remind yourself to pay attention. That said, if you’re having a great meeting early on,
and want to ask about scheduling, go for it!
This is as simple as knowing what your boss’s schedule is. I bet you’ve been thinking you
know what it is. But if she doesn’t publish it, answer this: how many standing meetings
does she go to that you don’t, when are they, how often are they changed, and what
are the topics? Manage your boss essay.
See, you don’t.
Some things you should know: What, when, where and with whom are his standing
ONE? And would you leave him alone during the hour before it? And would you expect
some things to change within 6 hours after it?
When is he busiest? Morning or late afternoon? When is he NOT busy but wants to be
left alone? How tightly does he run his time? Ho much at risk will you be if you handle
time differently than he does? What nights does he go home on time, and when does
he stay late? How often does he send night and weekend emails? How in general does
he feel about the start and end of the workday?
The way you get to these is, as we said above, not necessarily by interviewing the boss. | Managing Your Boss / p.6
©Manager Tools | Page 6
We recommend asking your peers for insight. Ask his assistant for a printed copy of his
weekly schedule. Review YOUR calendar for meetings he’s called.
d. Boss Work style
This is one of the harder things to discern quickly if you are new. Specifically, what we’re
asking you to ask here is, “What level of involvement does he want to have, on what
topics?” This boils down to what he delegates, and how involved he stays. The issue for
you is how much you’ll have to tolerate of his interaction after you own a task (if he
thinks you EVERY own it), and what amount of reporting will help her stay out of things,
or at least give you SOME room. Manage your boss essay.
e. Boss Relationships
This is one that we don’t recommend you tackle right away. If you get the other four
areas down pat, this one will probably happen naturally. You can discern this with the
answer to one simple question, but it may take some knowledge of your company we
can’t teach you how to get.
With whom, outside of her chain of command, does this manager regularly meet? (This
could be lunch, dinner, breakfast, hanging out in each others’ offices, etc. COULD be
work related, may not be).
We’d like you to tell US why this is important to you. first one with the right answer gets
a free copy of The Effective Executive, Getting Things Done, or The World is Flat, your
choice, mailed to you.
Special Tips:
There are three other things we recommend you do in terms of managing your
relationship with your boss. (Have you picked up on the fact that we don’t say
“managing your boss”? We think that’s kinda funny… at least we would if we were your
Weekly One on Ones with your boss. If you have to couch it as an update meeting, fine.
Ask for a half hour, and only take YOUR FIFTEEN MINUTES. If he wants to go longer, let
him take over…and you’re having something approximating a O3. Don’t do this until you | Managing Your Boss / p.7
©Manager Tools | Page 7
start with YOUR team, though… If he cuts you off when you’re done, and YOU WILL BE
DONE in 15 minutes if you’re smart… fine. You’re getting the best you can get.
Quarterly performance review. Ask your boss for an hour to get feedback over the
previous 3 months. If he wont’ give it to you, fine… fill out a review form and get it to
him. If he wonders why, tell him, “to make it easier for both of us to keep track of stuff
3-6-9 months from now.” You will forget just like she will. (You can do this along with
updating your resume… it’s like we know what we’re talking about!) Manage your boss essay.
Share all this about YOU with YOUR TEAM. Don’t make them ask… walk them through
all five areas. Do a Jerry Maguire… help them help you!!!
Wrap Up
1. A True Story
2. The Basics.
a. Boss Goals
b. Boss Communications
c. Boss Schedule/Time Management
d. Boss Work style
e. Boss Relationships | Managing Your Boss / p.8
Manage your boss essay

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