Managing your boss


  • Business
  • Monday, 06 Oct 2003

BY S.L. ANG

WE’VE read books on the management of staff and subordinates, but managing our bosses? Ros Jay has just the answers for achieving this in her book How to Manage Your Boss – developing the perfect working relationship (Pearson).  

The author is no newcomer on the scene of marketing, management and business administration; she has written many books and manuals in these fields of study. 

Every working day, we strive to get through our assignments with as little casualty as possible. 

This is more so if we work closely with our bosses.  

Displeasing or offending our bosses could mean a minus sign in his good books, and hopes of a pay rise or promotion might as well be pipe dreams. 

Work at the office could become a living nightmare if you happen to have a Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-type of boss to report to. 

This book seeks to help people build and improve their working relationship with their bosses. Ros Jay regards this partnership to be the most important at work, and therefore it needs to be excellent. 

Sure, you don’t have to be best pals with your boss after working hours, but there ought to be personal and professional trust and respect at work. 

This objective is easier on the employee’s part, as most employees have only to concentrate on one or two bosses, whereas bosses usually have several team members under their wing. 

How to Manage Your Boss breaks down the process into 3 parts, namely Knowing Your Boss, Building Your Skills and Managing a Difficult Boss. 

Follow the steps and you will hopefully be a top-class employee and your boss’ best team player. Then you can hopefully get a promotion and pay rise. 

The first step is to know your boss. Jay advises one to understand his boss by applying specific questions and getting tactical answers. 

This will enlighten you on the extent of your boss’s responsibilities and put your relationship in perspective. 

The question also brings to light the scope of your value to your boss. By understanding priorities and issues of the whole department, you are deliberately increasing your value. Always look at the big picture, then present ideas and solutions that meet your boss’s requirements.  

You can also fit yourself better in the department by asking yourself: how many people do your boss manages apart from you; who are the ones your boss is answerable to; how much of your boss’ time is spent managing the department and how much time is used to generate and promote ideas, etc.  

When these questions are answered, you should have a good picture of the tasks and concerns that occupy your boss’ attention. 

Then you move on to identify and personify what type of boss you have. Is he bureaucratic, laid back, consultative/non-consultative, and concerned with detailed or focused on the big picture? Or is he creative, logical, organised/unorganised, proactive or reactive?  

Whether you boss’s personal style is within the mentioned list or not, it’s not hard to recognise how to keep him happy once you’ve determined his working style.  

This chapter takes a step further by providing a list of apt questions that will help you know how your boss wants you to work. 

Besides that, you will also learn how to dis¬tinguish your boss’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as the way he communicates. This is essential to any job, as you need to analyse their level of openness and their ability to put information across. 

Knowing what motivates and stresses your boss is equally useful. 

By minimising his pet hates and peeves, while increasing his motivational factors, you will notice a positive difference in your relationship. 

Enough of analysing your boss, now’s it’s your turn to be under the microscope. 

Are you part of the problem or the solution? 

Most of you may not realise that you are contributing to the predicament; the solution of course, is to analyse yourselves and see how you can adapt it to avoid problems with the boss.  

The skills that you need to address are important to any boss and they are guaranteed to make you a rewarding member of the team from the boss’s point of view.  

To achieve this, you must build your skill base; improve you overall image and manage your time effectively. 

Similar to the exercise you utilise to know your boss better, you will also be taught how to spot your own strengths, weaknesses, motivational and stress factors. 

For those who are really serious about improving themselves, pay more attention to chapter 8 – How to listen... and be listened to.  

The art of listening is something many people lack or take for granted. After all, haven’t we been listening since we were babies? Far from it.  

Careful listening is an acquired talent and there are basic techniques that one can adopt to develop his listening skills. 

It has several benefits to listen properly: it prevents mistakes caused by crossed lines and poor communication; it helps you to understand what is really going on; it enables you to read between the lines when someone is speaking to you; and it makes the other person feel more positively towards you. 

Having gone through all that training, you will proceed to the most sticky part of working for someone – How to manage a difficult boss.  

Bosses are humans and most of them have a few faults, okay, maybe bucket loads of them. 

How are you going to handle the characteristics that make them difficult to work with then? 

To help you overcome these hurdles, Ros Jay imparts tips and methods on how to deal with the many types of problematic bosses.  

How to Manage Your Boss is a practical user’s guide to developing a better working relationship with your boss, without being perceived as overly desperate or obsequious. With the flair of an experienced marketer and corporate management writer, Jay gives a presentation that is simple, effective and systematic.  

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