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20 Ways to Manage Your Boss – some golden rules everyone should know

It’s performance-review season in Officeville and that means most of us are going to be singing “me me me” louder than any other time of the year.
Bernhard Lang | Getty Images
You’re an idiot but I know now that that’s not an effective way to “manage” my boss. Have I told you that’s a great tie?!

Is my boss going to give ME a good review? He’d better give ME a raise  I deserve it! Ooh, do you think he’ll give ME a bonus, too?!
Charming though your little “me” chorus is, the truth is, it’s not going to get you very far unless you start thinking about your boss and how best to manage your relationship with him or her. When we think of managing, we tend to only think of managing subordinates but the truth is, you have to manage in every direction: up, down and side to side.
“Managing up can sound like how to manipulate your boss but that’s not really it all,” said Marie McIntyre, a career coach and author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.” “Whenever you’re trying to build a positive, productive relationship with anybody, you have to look at it from their point of view. And that’s particularly true with your boss because your boss does control a lot of things that affect you at work,” she said.
“Even if you work for an idiot, you have to figure out how to manage working with an idiot,” she added. “As long as that person is your boss, they’re going to affect your life and you have to figure out how to work with them.”
So, how exactly do you “manage” your boss? We asked the pros and they offered up these 20 Ways to Manage Your Boss:
1. Accept the fact that your boss is your boss. It’s amazing how many times people say I’m not going to tell him that, he’s a jerk. I don’t have to be nice to him I just have to clock in, do my job and clock out. Wrong! Your boss not only controls if you get a raise this year, if you get promoted or if you get a pink slip but he or she also has great influence on the opinions of his boss and other managers.

If you’re jerky or disrespectful to the boss, it doesn’t hurt anyone but you. So whether you think he’s an idiot or if you have no respect for him doesn’t matter at all. You need to figure out how to manage your relationship with the boss in order to get what you want.

2. Prove that you’re trustworthy. Your boss can’t be everywhere at all times so you’re one of his eyes and ears on the ground. So, if you have information about something good, share it. Even if it’s bad news, you have to have the courage to tell it to your boss so you can put out the fire.
“If you’re sitting on a ticking time bomb, things will happen if you’re afraid to tell the boss the bad news,” said Dion Lim, president of job-search site Simply Hired. “Remember, you and your boss are in this together.”
3. Don’t complain about your boss with others. One easy way to break that trust with your boss is to have her find out that you’ve been complaining about him to other people. So, resist the urge to give in to office complaining. Remember: You never know when that person you think is on your side commiserating about the boss will turn on you. Keep your eye on the big picture and keep your trap shut.
4. Don’t whine! You hate it when your colleagues whine, you hate it when your spouse or kids whine, so what do you think the boss’s response will be if you’re always coming into his office complaining? You guessed it Hate it! It’s completely fair to bring a complaint or issue to the boss just make sure you practice how you say it. Keep it professional and check your emotions at the door. If you want to scream, cry or punch something after work that’s totally your prerogative. When you’re at the office, zip it.
5. Look at the situation from your boss’s point of view. Sitting in your cubicle, it’s easy to sing the me, me, me song, and stew in what you are and are not getting, who’s getting more, etc. But that’s not going to get you anywhere with the boss. Before you approach your boss, try to think about what she’s going through is it budget time? Did she just have to lay off 20 people? Is she getting pressure to improve the numbers from her boss?
“I call it ‘taking the emotional temperature of the boss,’” said Peggy Klaus, a career coach and author of the book, “Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It.” “Think about what ticks him off. What pleases him … Do you know when the best time to approach him is? Is he a bear before his morning coffee? Or, is he cranky after a board meeting?!”
“Timing is everything,” said Avi Karnani and Dave Clarke of GetRaised.com, a site that helps employees ask and get a raise. “A simple inquiry regarding, say, your interest in working from home one day a week shouldn’t be delivered on a Friday evening at the end of the quarter – it’s almost a guarantee that your boss will be stressed … That’ll do more damage than good,” Karnani explained. “However, if you were to time your inquiry to when you know your boss will be most receptive (maybe that’s on Tuesdays after the lunch hour), you’ll probably have more success.”
6. Treat your boss with respect. Regardless of how you feel about your boss, he’s is in a higher position than you and you and you need to treat him with respect.
“This doesn’t mean you have to respect your boss,” McIntyre explained. “You may not actually respect your boss as a person but you need to be respectful of the boss,” she said.
If you don’t, he or she will pick up on it, and respond accordingly. Think about that little punk at the deli counter yesterday. Then ask yourself: If you were the boss, would you promote someone who didn’t respect you?
7. Try to understand your boss’s management style. Every boss has a different style. Some are outgoing and like to chat, some are more quiet. Some like you to keep them in the loop on every little thing. Some don’t want to be bogged down with that, but would rather that you just deliver occasional status reports of the projects you’re working on. Some may not be big on showering you with praise every time you do something good. It also includes how they prefer to interact phone, email or face-to-face. Also, what time of day is good or bad for them. Whatever it is, find out what your boss’s management style is and make sure all of your communications with them fit with that style.
This is particularly important when you get a new manager, McIntyre said. “Call them on the phone, send them an email. Find out what they like,” she said. Plus, don’t be afraid to check with colleagues about their experience with the boss and her style. Every little bit helps.
8. Try to make your boss look good!  You may have learned to keep your lip zipped when it comes to the boss but you have to go beyond not creating conflict with the boss. You also have to do things that make her look good. Not only will it be better for the team it will be better for your career.
9. Try to make your boss’s job easier. Yeah, yeah. You’re exhausted. If you think your job is stressful, think about how much more the boss has to deal with! Get over yourself and do things to try to make the boss’s job easier.
“We’re not suggesting you become the office kiss-up, but helping your boss out every now and then with day-to-day stuff can go a long way,” Karnani said. “Are you tech-savvy?  Does your boss not have the faintest idea on how to operate his iPod? Offer to be his go-to for all things tech.  Bottom line, if you make your bosses life easier, chances are, he/she will return the favor when you need it.”
10. Keep your boss in the loop. No matter how busy you are, take the time to keep your boss in the loop. Per No. 7, find out what her style is how she likes to be notified of what’s going on and how often. One of the worst things for a boss is to have a fellow manager be talking about someone on her team, and not having any idea what the guy’s talking about or, worse, not knowing about a ticking time bomb. Give your boss regular updates but make sure you keep them brief. Karnani suggests maybe making a list on Sunday night of what you plan to do in the coming week and send it to your boss.
11. Express some sincere appreciation for your boss. “It never hurts to express some sincere appreciation to your boss,” McIntyre said. They hear a lot about what’s wrong but don’t often hear praise or appreciation. And who doesn’t like to be appreciated? You’d be amazed about how far a little appreciation will go.
“We’re not talking about sucking up! But things you generally appreciate about your boss Even a boss you don’t love,” she said.
Surely, you can find at least one nice, sincere thing to say even if you don’t really like the guy. It’s not sucking up, it’s called “career advancement.”
12. Don’t feel entitled. Yes, we all know you work hard and deserve a raise. But walking into the boss’s office with a sense of entitlement is a surefire way to be shuffled out of there in a hurry. “Stay away from broad, general statements like ‘Doesn’t everybody get a promotion after a year?’” Klaus said. Even if everybody does get a raise after a year, you want to prove to the boss that you’ve earned it. Go in there with a list of accomplishments not a list of entitlements.
13. Offer solutions not just problems. Do you have any idea how many people on a daily basis, walk in to the boss’s office and dump their purse on his desk? Instead of dropping an open-ended problem, briefly tell him what the problem is and then offer up a couple of solutions. It’s a lot easier to answer a multiple-choice question than an open-ended question. Plus, it will brand you as a “solutions” person one of the most valuable types of employees to the boss. Of course, be prepared that he may choose e) none of the above, and provide a different solution. Remember, he’s the boss that’s his prerogative. What’s important is that he will appreciate your effort to solve the problem, not just dump it on his desk.
“I love it! I always love when someone comes to me with a solution,” Klaus said. “That takes you out of the whining category!”
14. Do your homework! Before you go into the boss’s office with a request for a raise or new project, do your homework. Find out what your company’s policies are, what the company’s going through right now (financially and organizationally) and what’s going on in your industry in general, suggests Stacey Carroll, a human-resources expert for PayScale.com and an adjunct professor at Western Washington University.
Then, prepare a list of key bullet points before you talk to the  boss and do a practice run either alone in your office or before a spouse or friend outside the office. “I call it getting it off your tongue,” Klaus said. That will help make sure you’re brief and not tongue-tied. Plus, try to anticipate the boss’s response and have some answers ready.
15. Have a clear objective. Sometimes you think you know what you’re asking for just because you’ve gone over and over it in your head. But if you don’t do your prep, you may go in there and do the verbal equivalent of falling down a flight of stairs.
Know what your objective is, get in, get out and let the boss move on.
16. Defer to your boss. Lim said one of the best pieces of advice he ever got from a mentor was to defer to your boss. You go in there with clear objectives and say “This is what we’re planning to talk about today.” Then, defer to your boss and say, “Is there something else that you actually feel is more urgent for us to talk about?”
“That lets him know that you’re well prepared but you’re ready to put it in your back pocket if something is more urgent,” he said.
17. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Too often, people see asking for help as a weakness and want to be that “Yes” Man to their boss. Remember that your boss’s objective is to get the task done, so don’t be the “Yes” Man, be the “Get it Done” Man even if it means asking for help. Your boss won’t think less of you for asking, they’ll think more of you because you quickly assessed what it would take to get the job done and got it done.
18. Toot your own horn. A lot of people treat bosses and colleagues like a date they don’t want to be seen as the obnoxious person who brags too much. Knock it off! No one says you have to be obnoxious but if you don’t tell the boss your accomplishments, who will? Remember, you are thinking about one employee you and your boss has a whole lot of employees to think about. So periodically make sure you let her know about your accomplishments and any great feedback you’ve received.
“The boss often really doesn’t know what you’re doing,” Klaus explained. “You absolutely have to toot your own horn. And you can do it artfully and gracefully,” she said.
19. Ask your boss for honest feedback. So, you got a bad review or you didn’t get that raise. A lot of people will take that as a cue to complain about the boss, or write it off as him not understanding or appreciating you. So how’s that working out for you? It probably strained your relationship. A better bet, Carroll said, is to ask your boss for honest feedback. There’s probably a lot more going on than he didn’t understand or appreciate you. Maybe there’s a budget freeze or maybe there are restructuring plans. Find out what the issues are and then find out if there’s anything else you can do to improve your chances of getting that raise, getting that promotion whatever it is you’re asking him for.
20. Don’t try to be friends with your boss. Sorry, we’re grown-ups now and you have to accept that you can be friendly with your boss but anyone who’s conducting your performance review or deciding if you get a raise cannot be your friend. Being too close with the boss could not only strain relations with your peers, but stir rumors of favoritism., McIntyre cautioned. So that not only creates problems for you, but problems for your boss which is what this whole list is aimed at avoiding.
So, does that mean forget the holiday gift?
No way!, the pros say. A modest gift is a sign of your appreciation and, like anyone else, bosses like to be appreciated.
One way to keep it from getting weird is to go in with several co-workers on a gift for the boss. That’s a win-win-win: Your boss feels appreciated, you look good and now you’ve also made your co-workers look good.
By: Cindy Perman for CNBC 

15 Things Not to Say to Your Boss

“Think before you speak” is always a good policy, and in the workplace the maxim could be further refined to “think before you blurt out something to your boss that could hurt your career.” We checked in with some bosses, and came up with this list of 15 phrases bosses definitely don’t want to hear: 

1. “I’m only doing this job for the money.”
No boss wants to hear that your sole motivation for showing up is your paycheck. She may know that money is your motivation, and you may know she knows, but it’s still better left unsaid.

2. “I’m broke/in debt/one step away from bankruptcy.”
Your financial woes are not your boss’s concern. Period.

3. “I’m going to quit after I (fill in the blank).”
No matter how noble your future plans are — you may be saving to start your own company or go to grad school, for example — it’s usually best to keep those plans to yourself or to refer to them only vaguely. If your boss knows there is a definite end date to your employment, she may start to shop around for your replacement before you are ready to leave.

4. “I partied a little too hard last night.”
Buck up and get through the day with some ibuprofen, extra undereye concealer and coffee. But don’t share the sordid details of your night on the town with your boss. He’s just as likely to react with (unspoken) disdain as sympathy.

5. “It’s not my fault.”
Are you a whiny 8-year-old or a take-charge professional? Assume responsibility and take steps to fix a problem that you did, in fact, create. And if you are being wrongly blamed for a problem, saying “let’s get to the bottom of this” or “what can we do to make it right?” is much more effective than saying “it’s not my fault.”

6. “I’m bored/this job is boring.”
Didn’t your mother ever tell you that only boring people get bored? If you’re constantly twiddling your thumbs, ask for extra work and be as specific as you can. And if you’re busy but think your assigned tasks are less-than-stimulating, start strategizing about how you can get the job you want, either within your company or elsewhere.

7. “My job is too easy.”
Sure, you may think a monkey could do your job. But don’t give your boss any ideas — your company could probably pay a monkey less than it pays you.

8. “I can’t work with so and so. I hate him.”
Involving your boss in personality conflicts should always be your last resort. So unless you are being threatened, scapegoated, encouraged to participate in unethical behavior, or your colleague or customer is engaged in other egregious workplace conduct, try to work it out between yourselves first.

9. “I can’t do that because of my other job.” In your boss’s mind, a second job is not a valid excuse for why you can’t stay late, work extra hours or finish a project on time. She may question your priorities, and rightly so.

10. “Oh my Gawd! How did you do this job before the Internet/text messaging/Skype?”
Although not a cardinal workplace sin, making your boss feel old will not score you any points.

11. Sigh. Grimace. Eye roll. Wretching noises.
Actions can speak louder than words. A poker face and silence are golden when you’re displeased with your boss.

12. “Do it yourself!”
No need for explanation. Just never say this. Ever.

13. “It’s always been done this way.”
You don’t want to gain a reputation as an inflexible dinosaur, so keep an open mind about how you do your work. And if you’re convinced that a new way of doing things is going to harm your company, present your case without using “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” to support your position.

14. “Let me set you up with…”
Avoid the urge to play matchmaker for your single boss. The potential benefit is far outweighed by the potential risk. For that matter, any socializing with your boss (even something as simple as friending him on Facebook) can cause you to share too much information, so consider limiting social interactions entirely.

15. “Sorry, I must have drifted off.” C’mon, wake up! If you’re caught with your eyes closed, feign deep concentration rather than admit you were dozing.


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How to argue with your boss and win … may be

Do your homework and try not to be confrontational when disagreeing

Apple’s people told Steve Jobs the new iPhone had antenna problems that needed fixing. They didn’t get through, though, and as a result Apple brought a faulty product to market. It’s hard to disagree with the boss, especially a hard-driving, charismatic one like Jobs. But it’s part of a manager’s responsibility to push back against a decision, a plan or a directive that’s faulty. Here’s how you can argue successfully with the boss and live to tell about it. Take these three steps.

1. Get all the facts. Is the boss’s decision really boneheaded? Maybe there are reasons for it that you don’t understand. The company’s strategy could be shifting in response to competitors’ moves, a pending cash crunch, a regulatory problem, M&A activity, or other conditions not yet apparent to you. It’s possible that the boss understands there will be problems but feels that from a big-picture perspective the plan makes sense.

You’ll encourage an open discussion about the decision if you listen respectfully as the boss announces it rather than reflexively arguing against it or, worse, disagreeing in public or losing your temper. Ask for “background” about the plan, not a “rationale” for it, which can sound confrontational. Learn what it’s meant to achieve. Learn in what ways the decision is based on solid evidence, and in what ways on assumptions. Ask open-ended questions about the effect it will have on staff, the supply chain, finances, the company’s reputation and so on.

Tell the boss you agree with his objectives, or you agree that change is needed, or that there are parts of the plan that sound really good to you. Ask for permission to study it and discuss it later. Schedule a meeting.

Gather all the intelligence that’s available so you can develop an alternate plan that achieves the original decision’s objectives but avoids its problems.

2. Develop your plan. Don’t let your disappointment about the decision make you feel you have to start from scratch. Identify what’s good about the boss’s plan. Try to retain those parts, not only because they’re right but also to give the boss some ownership of your version. Get creative. Think about all the other ways the expected goals could be reached. You can begin by picturing an ideal solution and thinking forward to see what would be needed to make it work.

Mine your network for ideas. Ask people across the company how they can add value to your proposition. Suppliers can be especially useful to talk with, since they may have processes that can help. As you talk with others, make it clear that you’re looking for the best way to make the boss’s plan work, not trying to supplant it with your own.

Test your plan with trusted advisors. They may identify flaws you don’t see. Maybe your plan won’t generate revenue quickly enough. Maybe it relies on resources that are no longer available. Your advisors can help you make the process you’re proposing faster, cheaper and even more effective. They also can tell you if it will threaten someone who might try to block it. Working with them, you can find ways to get that person’s support.

Think about the boss’s personal motivators as well. Maybe he’s playing it safe because of a pending retirement, or maybe he’s accepting some risk to earn a huge bonus. You can’t get into someone else’s mind, but you can try to get into the boss’s shoes, to look at the plan from his perspective. (While you’re at it, examine your own motives: Are you against the plan because it hurts you in some way? Because you weren’t consulted? Because the boss is a dork who couldn’t have any good ideas?)

3. Present your plan.
Anticipate what questions the boss may ask about your plan, and prepare concise, persuasive answers to them. Prepare a written summary that you’ll leave behind. Present your plan with confidence and enthusiasm, because if you don’t show you believe in it, the boss won’t either.

Begin by describing the plan’s payoffs, and then go into details of its implementation. Don’t burden the boss with too much detail, though, unless you’re asked for it. Once the boss is satisfied with your answer to a question, stop explaining and move on with your presentation. Avoid digressing from your main message or mentioning other people’s criticisms of the boss’s plan.

Choose your words carefully. When discussing the original plan, never use the word “disagree.” That might get the boss’s back up. Even a “but” might infer you’re negating what the boss says. Present “recommendations” or “suggestions,” not the “conclusion” you reached about what’s needed, which would sound pompous.

Despite your best efforts, the boss may insist that you carry out the original plan. If that happens, the best solution may be to get approval to do so on a test basis. Be sure you make it an honest test, not one intended to showcase the plan’s weaknesses. Document every step. Let staff members who don’t have an interest in the results help you make your evaluation. Cite their participation when you report the results.

What can you do if the boss remains unpersuaded? Come to the meeting prepared for that possibility. If the plan violates law or compromises ethics, you may choose to refuse and accept the consequences. Absent those kinds of problems, though, you can agree to move ahead and feel good about it because you’ve met your obligation to make a strong case against the decision. Be sure the boss understands that you’re ready to move forward with dedication and enthusiasm.

At some point every manager has to argue with the boss. Whether or not you’re successful, the challenge can provide a payoff. You get to demonstrate leadership, creativity, an ability to negotiate and deep concern for the well being of both your boss and the company.

By Bill Rosenthal

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