Want to be in control of your relationships with your boss? Want to be praised? Want to anticipate critiques and make most out of it?
Here is my take – manage your manager.
Why you need a manager? Why is she calling your desk all the time? Why she constantly sends tons of emails? What does she want from you? The only reasonable answer I could come up with is “she wants you to accomplish your tasks so she could hit her goals”.
Understand you manager’s goals
Do you know you manager’s goals? Clearly understand the goals. Save your manager and you from wasting time and resources on something that is off track to your manager’s goals.
Agree on course of action
Make sure the course of action toward the goals is clear to both you and your manager. There are way more aspects that should be taken into account while trying to accomplish your tasks. Let your manager oversee it. Present your approach, let the manager correct it and then execute it exactly as it was agreed by both parties. Executing exactly the way it was agreed saves your manager from surprises. Managers do not like surprises.
Timely mutual feedback
How do you know you are on track? Feedback is the primarily tool for that purpose. Beg for the feedback. Provide timely feedback to your manager too. Ask for help when hitting road bumps. Help your manager helping you. Agree on timely feedback. Agree on the channel for the feedback – in person, email, or phone. Proactively provide progress status on timely bases you agreed. In case you are late with deliverables – report so, proactively. Do not wait for your manager to ask. She will ask in any case. Be the first one, anticipate. Avoid surprises. Managers do not like surprises.
How do you know you excel? How do you know you should expect rewards – either vocal or material? Execute to exceed what was agreed during clear goals setting. Stay on track and execute to hit the goals. All that with minimum managerial efforts from you manager’s side. I am sure your manager will be happy to see you doing your job and helping her hit her goals above the expectations. Expect to be rewarded. In case you are not, managing your manager you reward yourself with less micro-management, achieving more with less efforts, getting home at 5 to spend more time with your family.
More resources on how to cope with bosses