Do You Need to Manage Your Boss?

September 10, 2015

Career Advice

2149638304_982c0880bf_zHas it become clear to you that your manager isn’t quite as savvy as you once thought? And they’re not quite as organized as you imagined they would be? Maybe it seems like they need some help running the team? Or he/she needs a little help in the people skills arena?

Don’t dismiss your job as all lost if you’re working with a less-than-perfect manager. You can learn how to manage your boss! Really? It’s called “managing up.” Here’s where the problem often begins:

  • employees don’t realize how much their boss depends on them for the skills they have, especially first-time job holders 
  • employees also don’t see the dependence between the two parties: manager and subordinate.

Once you realize your boss is human just like you and needs your input and cooperation, you can start “managing up.” Here’s how: 

Be subtle at first. Offer your assistance in a manner that isn’t aggressive, but is confident and honest. Oftentimes a manager can be threatened by a subordinate’s knowledge and abilities.

Be authentic. The reason you are “managing your boss” is because of your belief in the business and team. Show that!

Put your skills to use. You were hired because for your particular skills. Remember this and work at using these skills to help your manager and team become successful.

Make yourself indispensable. Don’t be afraid to show that you’re an expert at whatever it is you specialize in.

Communicate with your boss. If you have an issue with something at work, talk with your boss and offer a solution. Managers appreciate solutions rather than complaints.

Try more than once. Bosses don’t always realize this tactic of “managing up.” They may believe they are always correct given their authority. However, once they see your intentions and realize you have a specialized skill set, they should come around. It may take more than one try.

Be respectful of their position. There is a line, and you don’t want to overstep it. Remember that you are a subordinate as you implement this “managing up” strategy. Remain understanding that your boss is still the boss and ultimately, they have the decision-making power.

“Managing up” sounds like an oxymoron, right? But don’t judge it until you try it. It might make your work day, your team, and your career more successful. 

Image via Dave Stone/Flickr


About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

View all posts by Spectrum Brands Careers


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