Simply managing your staff isn’t enough to get results in business. You also need to manage your boss. You are the expert in your own area, and you know what you need to deliver success in your department and to contribute to the company’s bottom line. It’s not that your boss doesn’t contribute—it’s just that their contribution is different from yours.
And for them to get you what you need to manage your department successfully, you need to begin managing your boss.
Here are two simple strategies for managing your boss to drive your own success in the organization:
Manage their communications about you and your department
Your ability to get a promotion and get the resources you need to succeed (budget, staff, or even simple support for initiatives) depends on how senior management perceives you and your department.
Don’t leave this important issue in the hands of your manager.
Provide your boss with bullet points, blurbs, explanations, and even facts and figures to demonstrate your success for them to use. Take a sales approach and consider the audience. They don’t want technical or process information; they care about your impact on the company’s bottom line, and they need short, concise information.
Offer to write material for reports, prepare slides, or even attend senior-level meetings and presentations with your boss. Show support for your boss while protecting your interests.
Find out what senior management is interested in and make sure your boss is equipped with the “talking points” they need to properly represent you and your department.
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Manage their support of you and your department
Chances are your boss has more than your department and your issues to worry about. Yet you want their attention when necessary to gain resources, approval, or even be noticed for success, so managing your boss is necessary.
What you don’t want is to be noticed for failure or be going to your boss for solutions to your problems.
So, take the initiative to work out issues and problems and bring the solutions to your boss. Be a problem solver and take less of your boss’s time so that when you do get their attention, it is on your terms, not theirs.
Also be proactive by asking your boss about higher-level issues and then showing them what you and your department can do to support those issues. Demonstrate and deliver support to your boss and when you need it, they are more likely to support you.
Whenever you need something that your boss has to get approval for, provide your boss with everything they will need to get you what you want. Similar to the first point, you also need to understand senior management so you can help your boss with the pitch.
Don’t let it rest on your boss’s shoulders or rely on them to know how to get support from their superiors for your initiatives. They should know, but don’t make assumptions.
About Michel Theriault
Michel Theriault is an author, speaker, and consultant focusing on topics relevant to Managers and aspiring Managers in businesses of all sizes who want to get results, get attention, and get ahead. He is the author of Write To Influence (from the Quick Guides for Managers series), Win More Business – Write Better Proposals and Managing Facilities & Real Estate. Write To Influence is currently available as a free download in ebook and audiobook format. As the founder of Success Fuel for Managers, Michel’s work includes training, consulting, seminars, and business-oriented books. Connect with Michel or read his blogs about management and leadership on his site at www.successfuelformanagers.com.