Eight Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Your Boss The Art of Managing Up

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Beverly Flaxington

Many advisors with whom I work want their employees to work with them more effectively – what I call “managing up.” Advisors are often at a loss as to how to motivate staff and get them to jump on board with new initiatives – and those problems can be addressed by helping your charges improve their working relationship with you.

This problem is endemic – affecting not just advisors. A recent Gallup poll of more one million employed U.S. workers showed that the number one reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor. “People leave managers not companies…in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue,” Gallup wrote in its survey findings. The effect of poor management is widely felt. Gallup also determined that poorly managed work groups are, on average, 50 percent less productive and 44 percent less profitable than well-managed groups.

If would like your staff to learn new skills about how to work with you as the leader, share this article. Or if you are a staff member on a team and you have a boss and would like to learn more about how to be effective with him or her, read on!

Try one or more of these eight ways to improve the communication and effectiveness between levels:

  1. Observe your boss’ behavioral and communication style. Are they fast-paced, and quick to make decisions? Are they slow to think about things and want time to process? The more you can match your style to your boss’ when communicating, the more she will really hear what you are saying. You may have great information to convey, but if you don’t convey it in a way that your boss can hear, it will fall on her deaf ears.
  2. Think about “what’s in it for me?” from your boss’ point-of-view each time you approach her. What does she care about? What do you know about the view from her seat? Can you frame comments in a way that makes her feel what you are proposing, or doing, is good for her? Many senior advisors have told me they wish their staff understood more about the complexities they deal with, and the issues coming down on them. Put yourself in your boss’ shoes a bit before you ask her to understand you!