Your manager is not a mind reader

I learnt very early on in my career that management is not a one way but a two way street and developing and maintaining good relationships with team members and your manager is important. One of my early jobs was working in a bookshop ordering books for colleges and libraries. We had the ultimate command and control structure lined up in rows of desks facing our manager - just like in traditional schools. In rallying against ridiculous (only from my perspective) rules and humiliating and arguing with the manager in public meant I was shown the door unceremoniously!

So mastering the art of managing upwards will probably result in enhancing your career and enjoyment and fun at work.

Take responsibility. We cannot expect managers to be mind readers; our pressing issues are not necessarily those of our boss. Firstly take responsibility for your issues and initiating discussions. Most managers prefer positive initiatives to buck passing. Be open in your approach as nothing undermines the quality of a relationship more than surprises. Let your boss know the good, the bad, and the ugly before they hear it from other sources.

Think through the issue. It is important that before you talk to your manager about a problem you have thought it through and done some initial preparation. If you approach your boss with a problem and no idea how to deal with it you are dumping on them all the responsibility and blame for what is happening. Resistance and defence can take over rather than the priority of solving the issue. Always approach your boss with possible solutions and think through the pros and cons of each one. For example if budgets are very tight it is no good recommending investment without identifying where it should come from.

Listen actively. Be prepared to listen to another side of the story. By listening carefully you will be able to understand your managers position and may avoid misunderstandings. Collaboration and creative problem solving is more productive than making a stand.

Build the relationship. You need to be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses as how you behave in the relationship is just as important as finding out what makes your manager tick. Identify your positive and obstructive personality traits so that you use your attributes to smooth the relationship. Present information to your boss in a way that they will respond positively. Peter Drucker claims that all managers fall into the categories of reader or listener. Readers prefer information presented to them in report form in order that they can study it methodically in their own time. Listeners would prefer to have information presented orally.

Be reliable. Trusted employees are those who consistently get things done and keep to their commitments. Prima donnas who do superb work in one area then drop the ball in others undermine their effectiveness. A valuable person delivers consistent results

Your boss is not from another planet. She or he is just another human being who has skills abilities and experiences just like anyone else.

Manage upwards to manage your success.

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