6 Tips for Managing your Manager

manage manager

It may sound backwards but managing your manager is a real thing and can make or break your working relationship with leadership.

Management styles can vary drastically depending on leadership and culture.  Your manager's style can directly affect your job and how you feel about your role and staying in it. To clarify, even if you're a CEO of a credit union or nonprofit, you still have a Board to report to, so this is still applicable.

If you can develop key consistencies and use them to clarify meaning, intention and expectations, you'll likely to make you job much easier.

  1. Create a core mission.

Instead of calling yourself "Chief Marketer" you would identify yourself as "I'm our in-house expert on growth strategies through the ever-changing competitive landscape."

Whenever you accomplish something, share it with your boss in a way that ties back to the core mission. So for the mission above, a hallway comment to your boss might be: "Hey, I was just able to eliminate some under-performing channels so we have some budget to play with."

2.  Follow through.

Being micromanaged is super frustrating not to mention annoying. If it's happening, it's probably because you're not managing your manager well.

Be realistic and honest about what you can, and can't, accomplish and when. If a deadline isn't assigned ask for one but lead it in a manageable direction. For example, if you know your weeks crammed confidently ask, "Is early next week okay?"

Many times, you're manager will respond, "As soon as possible." This is an opportunity to reminder him/her of what you understand the priorities to be and ask where this new items ranks.

3.  Eliminate the element of surprise.

If you foresee and hiccups or notice a red flags coming down the pike, let your manager know with the appropriate level of urgency.

For example, if an anticipated issue is a month our, add it as an FYI agenda item for your next meeting starting with "Everything is fine we should just get a head of _________. If it's urgent, formulate some possible solutions before knocking on the door or making a call.

Know the details.

An old manager of mine would say "Don't tell me how to build a clock when I only need to know the time."

Since we all spend a fair amount of time in the weeds, it's easy to overload our managers with unnecessary details. Lead with broad stokes that emphasize the desired outcome, but know everything inside and out so you can address anticipated questions.

It's always a good idea to put your manager "hat" on and few the situation from his/her perspective and think through possible any questions and concerns.

5.  Be a solutionist.

You may think you feel better when you complain you're likely annoying and stressing out your manager.

If there's a problem, make the effort to consider possible solutions before voicing your concerns. You should always bring something to the table, even if it's initial ideas that had to be crossed off the list.

6.  Know your #1 job.

You probably think that your #1 job is to complete your task on time, on budget, and at the highest quality. Actually, your #1 job is to make your boss successful.

When you contribute to him/her winning, you win. When offering input or suggestions, try to deliver on a positive outcome.