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How to Make Friends with the Boss: A Guide to Managing Up

Navigating the world of work can be a tricky business, but fear not! The skill you need is called 'managing up' – it's all about understanding your boss and finding ways to work together that benefit you both. It can boost your career, help you build better relationships at work, and even make the office a happier place to be.

Understanding the Concept of Managing Up

Managing up is about getting to know your boss's working style, their preferred ways of communicating, and what makes them tick. It's about tweaking your own way of working to gel better with theirs. Don't worry, it's not about trying to twist your manager around your little finger – it's about building a working relationship that's both productive and enjoyable.

Identifying Your Manager's Communication Style

We're all different, and that's true for bosses too. Your boss's communication style will be influenced by their personality. Maybe they're introverted and prefer written communication, like emails, or maybe they're more extroverted and love a good face-to-face chat. Once you've figured out their preference, you can adjust your own style to match.

Recognizing Your Manager's Work Style

Work style is another important factor to consider. Some bosses love a team huddle and a brainstorming session, while others prefer to see individual work and attention to detail. Once you understand what they prefer, you can tailor your approach to suit their style.

What's More Important: Tasks or People?

Different bosses have different priorities. Some are all about getting the job done, while others put their team's well-being first. Once you've figured out where your boss's priorities lie, you can align your own approach to match.

Handy Strategies for Different Types of Bosses

  1. Introverted Bosses: Why not schedule meetings in advance, favour written communication, and give them time to respond.

  2. Extroverted Bosses: Be prepared for brainstorming meetings and discussions – and don't forget to bring your best ideas!

  3. Micromanagers: Keep them in the loop with regular updates and status reports. Try to understand their priorities and needs, and set clear boundaries (they'll thank you for it!).

  4. "Ghost" Bosses: Schedule regular catch-ups, ask for feedback, and make clear requests for their time and input.

  5. Impulsive Bosses: Help them by providing a structured decision-making process, long-term planning, and a project list with pros and cons.

The aim of the game is to build a positive and productive relationship. It's easy to judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their impact on us. But if we try to understand the intentions behind our boss's actions, we can navigate the workplace much more effectively.

By putting these strategies into practice, you'll be managing up like a pro in no time – and who knows, you might even start looking forward to Mondays!

1 Comment

Paul Choi
Paul Choi
Apr 19

Awesome! can you do a part 2 with more strategies?


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