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The Delicate Art of Managing Up: How to Work Harmoniously With Almost Any Boss

Managing Your Boss

Managing Your Boss

Managing one’s boss can be a challenge, and most people have problems and frustrations with their superiors.

Working optimally with your boss means trying to produce the best possible results in an organization, keeping your stress levels low and increasing your happiness. It helps to have clarity about your options, keeping your sanity and focusing on what you can control.

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The Delicate Art of Managing Up: How to Work Harmoniously With Almost Any Boss

The Delicate Art of Managing Up: How to Work Harmoniously With Almost Any Boss

https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/08/managing-up-is-an-art-and-if-you-learn-it-you-can-work-harmoniously-with-any-boss.html

slate.com

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Key Ideas

Managing Your Boss

Managing one’s boss can be a challenge, and most people have problems and frustrations with their superiors.

Working optimally with your boss means trying to produce the best possible results in an organization, keeping your stress levels low and increasing your happiness. It helps to have clarity about your options, keeping your sanity and focusing on what you can control.

Talk About Priorities

Try connecting with your manager on a regular basis, clearing the work goals and priorities of the coming weeks or months.

Ensure that this line of communication is open so that there is clarity on both sides.

Regular Touchpoints

Just like setting priorities, there has to be a regular touchpoint system established, for checking in and getting queries solved.

Maintaining regularity of the meeting is imperative, though there are bound to be cancellations due to other priorities of your boss. It helps to take this into account and pushing for the meeting nonetheless.

Make It Easy For The Boss

Keeping emails concise and taking the bosses written approvals in a simple Yes or No can be helpful. Make sure the text is to-the-point, with suggested solutions, so that the boss can answer quickly.

Ask For Feedback

Timely feedback of your work is to be provided by the boss on a regular basis, rather than springing a surprise in the performance review. Asking proactively for feedback will correct the problems (if any) when it is not too late.

Boss Management

  • Don’t Take Things Personally: It helps to have a ‘thick skin’ and keep your ego out of your boss’s ultimate decision which may not be your preference.
  • Your Boss Is Human Too: Your boss can also feel frustrated, flustered or in need of a good word. Being human also brings in envy or insecurity in a person, so you have to consider that while dealing with your boss.
  • Avoid Ambiguity: Keeping things written down, and clear helps avoid misunderstandings, miscommunications and ambiguity. Being organized and easy to work with can help you deal with your boss efficiently.

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Be realistic about the risks

Our natural bias is to start by imagining all the things that will go horribly wrong if we disagree with someone more powerful. Yes, your counterpart might be a little upset at first, but most like...

Decide whether to wait

You may decide to hold off voicing your opinion if you want to gather your army first. People can contribute experience or information to your thinking — all the things that would make the disagreement stronger or more valid. 

Also, delay the conversation if you’re in a meeting or other public space. Discussing the issue in private will make the powerful person feel less threatened.

Identify a shared goal

Before you share your thoughts, think about what the powerful person cares about. You’re more likely to be heard if you can connect your disagreement to a “higher purpose.” 

State it overtly then, contextualizing your statements so that you’re seen not as a disagreeable underling but as a colleague who’s trying to advance a shared goal. 

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1:1 meetings
1:1 meetings

1:1 meetings matter. It is important to nurture that essential employee-manager relationship. But it still not easy to get right.

Under pressures, managers are still juggl...

1:1 category

The goal of an effective 1:1 is not an update from your direct report or for you to lay down some instructions. It's a conversation. It's a chance to hear about your direct reports' ideas for your product, their career goals, and possibly their opinion of their performance.

Keep a list of three potential topics ready for discussion. When they say they have nothing to discuss, you can jumpstart the conversation with one of your items.

Manager's best tool

Your most precious resource is your own time and energy. When you spend it on your team, it helps build healthy relationships.

Your job as a manager isn't to give advice or 'save the day.'' It's to empower your reports to find the answer themselves. If you want to understand what's going on, ask. Let her lead the conversation while you listen and probe.

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Be calm
Someone who is calm is seen as being in control, centered and more respectable. 

Unless you know that anger will trigger the person into action and you are consciously using it as a stra...

Understand the person's intentions

Even when it may seem that the person is just out to get you, there is always some underlying reason that is motivating them to act this way. 

Try to identify the person's trigger: What is making him/her act in this manner? What is stopping him/her from cooperating with you? How can you help to meet his/her needs and resolve the situation?

Get some perspective from others

In all likelihood, your colleagues, managers and friends must have experienced similar situations in some way or another. They will be able to see things from a different angle and offer a different take on the situation. 

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The purpose of a resignation letter

A resignation letter is not to announce your departure. It is documentation of your decision, not the main event.

Have your resignation conversation with your boss first, then formali...

The resignation letter

A resignation letter should be short and unemotional. It is not the place to mention your frustrations or disappointments.

Your letter should be two to three sentences at most. It should indicate today's date, then confirm your decision to resign and when your last day of work will be. You might add a single sentence to fill it out.

The Job Interview
The Job Interview

Hunting for a job is a tricky process and may have many pitfalls. Many of us are not accustomed to having these kinds of conversations or handling the power dynamics of a job interview. There can b...

A Long Multi-Round Process

If you feel there is fog ahead of you due to opacity in the interview process and the multiple rounds, you can simply ask the next steps of the process and the timeline for a decision.

If you think the employer has an elongated set of rounds ahead, request to consolidate them if possible.

Stumped By A Question

Instead of bluffing your way through a question that you are completely stumped with, it is better to be upfront and handle it with honesty and grace. Tell them straight away that you do not know the answer to this question and what similar things you have done which have been effective.

Your life experiences are unique and not identical to what the interviewer is trying to ‘slot’ you into.

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Ground Yourself In Reality

Brainstorming lets you speculate without restriction, but your ideas must be checked against reality. Be realistic about what options are actionable, and then take the next steps.

...
Identify First Steps

Big tasks tend to lead to procrastination if we don’t immediately choose the first steps. Study past similar tasks, the necessity for it and how to achieve it.

Having a time and a place when you know you’ll need to present your ideas to an audience is a good way to force you to structure your approach.

Choose Specific Goals

Breaking your big picture into specific doable goals will make it much more actionable. Especially if they come with a finite timeline.

Big questions are worth asking but they should be framed in a way that doesn’t feel burdensome or insurmountable. 

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Criticism is a good thing
It illustrates what you're doing right, what you're doing wrong, and what you can do to become better at your job.

No matter how good or how seasoned you are, there's always room to grow.

Dealing with criticism that cuts
  • Distance Yourself From the Situation to allow you to calm down. Do not react or take it personally. 
  • Try to Understand Your Boss's Intentions. Is he's upset with your performance or exceptionally stressed or prone to say things he doesn't fully mean?
  • Summarize the Criticism. Repeat back exactly what you think she's driving at. Try and word the criticism in a more positive light. "so you're saying I need to find a new work strategy so I can improve my performance?"
  • Explain Your Perspective. The more specific you can be here, the better. 

  • Engage in a Dialogue. Work together with your boss to hash out the unspoken details of the criticism.

  • Suggest an Action Plan and make sure to follow it.
  • Consider Giving Criticism of Your Own if the criticism is misdirected.  Tell your boss that his/her criticism was unwarranted or unhelpful, but suggest alternative strategies he/she can use in the future to make his/her criticism better.
Approaching Burnout At Work
Approaching Burnout At Work

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Routines Against Burnout

Strong morning and nighttime routines increase your productivity levels, ability to focus, and improve your overall mental and physical health. Your routines can include a healthy meal, exercise, reading, meditation, enjoying time with your family and friends.

However you build your routines, they should be full of activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Self-care is essential to dealing with job burnout.

Burnout Is An Emotional Exhaustion

It’s a syndrome that results from an extreme accumulation of improperly managed workplace stress that can lead to physical, mental, and social consequences.

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A raise
... is a recognition that you’re now contributing at a higher level than when your salary was last set. 

A raise isn’t a favor or a gift; it’s a way for employers to pay fair market valu...

It’s normal to ask

It’s not greedy or entitled to ask for a raise.  Unless you work somewhere truly dysfunctional, it’s understood that you work for money. This is okay.

  • you’re not asking for an amount that’s wildly out of sync with the market for your work, and 
  • you have a track record of strong work.
Be emotionally intelligent about your timing

You shouldn’t ask to talk about your salary when your manager is especially harried or having a bad day or nervous about impending budget cuts. 

On the other hand, if you’ve just saved the day with an important client or garnered rave reviews for a high-profile project, or if your boss has seemed particularly pleased with you lately, now might be a particularly good time to make the request.

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