Why you need to manage your boss

I first came across the idea of managing your boss in a Harvard Business Review article some years ago.  Until then, I had no idea you could manage your boss.  Wasn’t ‘managing’ what a boss did?  However, I was intrigued so I read the piece.  I have to admit, I don’t remember much of what the article said but I do remember deciding to try to change my relationship with my boss and those in authority (including my mother 🙂 ) to see if there would be any difference.  My relationship with my boss (and my mother!) changed and for the better too.  Here are some things to know if you’d like to learn how to manage your boss.


  • Realise that you are the one who must change.  Sure, it would be great if your boss suddenly became the person you wanted her to be but you have no control over her.  What you do have control over is yourself which is why you are the person you need to work on.


  • Become the sort of person your boss wants you to be.  Your boss isn’t keeping this a secret.  Even if she doesn’t say “I just love staff who are punctual”, take note of her actions, what she says to other people, what she says about other people and what she doesn’t say.  For example, if she always arrives at 7am, chances are she’ll be impressed if she finds you’re in the office before her.  The exception to this is if your boss wants you to be someone unethical or someone who goes against your beliefs.  For example, if your boss loves to bully a particular employee or drinks their lunch, it doesn’t mean you should do the same.  It may mean your boss will never like you but t could also mean someone else in authority will like you and take you out of that situation.


  • Work with your boss.  Let me give an example.  I used to have a boss who preferred you to present work verbally to him.  I wasn’t a fan of it but I did it.  My next boss preferred you to print things out for him and so I did.  I know both bosses thought I was a good staff because they told other people who told me.  Work in a way that pleases your boss.


  • If you have ideas on how to make tasks, the workplace or life in the office better, tell your boss.  They may not carry out all your ideas but they certainly will appreciate your bringing them up.


If I could summarise everything about managing your boss into a few words, they would be “make your boss’ life easier”.  Try out the ideas in this article and let me know how things go.


Want to know when a new blog post of mine comes up? All you need to do is subscribe to my blog.  It’s free!  Just enter your email address into the box on the right.  Please share this post on Twitter or Facebook by clicking on the icon below the post or at the right-hand side of this page.  Want to get in touch with me?  You can do so via Facebook or Twitter or by sending me an email. Thank you.