I thought I will write about Boss Management when I retire but couldn’t resist this for long; this is a day to day reality. After all the boss is the key to:
1.Your hiring (irrespective of HR and other people interviewing U for formality)
2.You staying (day to day sense of belonging, happiness or the lack of it, work life balance)
3.You leaving (sometimes)
4.Your pay (underpaid or overpaid)
But still many of us lack the skill of Boss Management, you know why? I have no clue either as it has been my chronic weakness too. If I clicked with some of my bosses, it must have been incidental or our relationship was inevitable in mutual interest.
This brings me back to school/college days during which time some of my classmates seemed to have better chemistry with our teachers than the rest of us. As a result, they (the privileged classmates) displayed superior knowledge of the relevant subjects by reading up on topics the day before; always able to ask appropriate questions to the teacher about the topics; and never failed to draw positive attention to themselves! In return, the teachers too favoured these curious bunch!
Managing upward is clearly a skill that exists at all stages of life. During childhood, while some of us were happily playing and busy studying, there were a select few who picked up the knowledge of power centres early on to draw more attention and subsequently earn rewards.
Unfortunately the same can’t be said for many at the workplace including star performers on having this essential skill. A large number of good talent who are positively aggressive in their work delivery are oblivious of the power contained within effective upward management. Yours truly was of no exception. From college days to work, we kept wishing that we’ll get better at it at some point!
So what is boss management? I view “boss management” as “a relationship process with your superior which you need to consciously and continuously work on to create the best possible experiences of yourself to your boss”.
The question is, how do you manage upward at the workplace without lowering your self-esteem?
- Being in touch: Most often when the boss appears busy, we tend to keep away from him/her to provide a respectable space. (As you do most of the work, they should be free?). On the contrary, you should try having a quick catch up on something common i.e. about a client or some internal happening. The key is to a strike a balance between “touch-and-go” and “being a pest”!
- Making it personal: it’s always good to know your boss’s personal interests/hobbies i.e. favourite movies and sports; the kind of books they likes to read; favourite things to shop; etc. Having some knowledge of the kids, spouse and friends will also help towards building meaningful conversations.
- Timing is everything: If you know your boss’s birthday, then try wishing him/her; show appreciation by sending across genuine congratulatory wishes if his/her team did well in performance or in a project; if the boss has just recently bought a new set of wheels; a nice dress; have lost weight; or anything else which you might like others to compliment you on, then do the very same to him/her!
- YOU being YOU: If you have done all of the above, then it’s only right for your efforts to be reciprocated. Highlight yourself too; let your boss be privy to some personal details of your life and anything unique about you which he/she will remember you for. These include key milestones in your life both professional and personal. The idea is to never stop creating positive memories of you which are easily remembered.
You must be wondering, isn’t it a world of employees, isn’t the boss supposed to do all the above mentioned things to keep his/her team engaged? Yes absolutely, but is that something you can influence? So try doing what is in your control or that is easily doable for your wellness.
I think it’s about time organisations introduce a module on “Managing Up” in the New Employee Induction Program. Sounds creepy? No, I mean it. It is often said that people leave their managers so why shouldn’t we train our employees on upward management for better harmony at work, increased productivity and raised retention rates?
The key is to keep in mind that bosses crave attention and appreciation similar to you and me. Go on and secure that edge you deserve by respectably filling in the gaps in your boss’s “lonely life at the top”.
Common Guys Queue up now! I am slightly ahead of you in this Q 🙂