I recently got a notification in my LinkedIn account for an editorial on the subtle art of managing your boss. It’s a curated set of comments by global leaders on the topic of gaining support from their managers. While the comments were specific, practical, and tactical, none of them addressed the best way to “managing their boss.”
But I don’t blame them at all — I don’t think there’s a way to manage your boss. They won’t let you. The best way to “manage upwards” is to work on building a solid rapport, trust and eventually influence your boss. And that comes with time, patience, communication, and a lot of empathy.
Most people think their bosses have an agenda. While it could be true in some cases for most, the bosses have problems waiting to be solved. The question isn’t what’s in it for them or you, but these:
- What are these challenges?
- How best do you think you can help them?
- Can your boss trust you with a chunk of their responsibilities so they can focus on the most critical aspects of their jobs?
By now, you would have realized that managing your boss isn’t just a tactic or even strategic. It comes purely from the heart to serve and make a leader’s life (at the workplace) more meaningful. And once you get to that level of trust, the leader will start to invest time in you by entrusting you with more responsibilities. Why? Because they finally get to see the leader in you.
You don’t ever manage your way up.