How to manage your boss

by | 23.11.23

It would be wonderful if all bosses were amazing but the truth is some are better than others. A bad boss is not necessary an awful boss, they are simply inadequate in some areas whereas they may excel in others. The challenge for you is you want to get on and with a poor boss this is hard. Here are some tips on how to help yourself and your boss:

Proactively communicate

If you find yourself constantly waiting for your boss give you instructions gain control of the situation. Take the reigns and actively find out the information you need and what needs to be done. Make sure you boss knows what you are doing and when it will be done by.

Do what you say you will do

if you’re having trouble meeting any goals you said you would achieve make sure your boss knows. Manage your boss’s expectations by discussing how reasonable or unreasonable a target might be then make sure you meet whatever goals which you have mutually agreed. Never over-commit, that way you’ll always meet or exceed expectation.

Manage your boss’s time

Whilst your time is entirely devoted to your boss, do not expect your boss’s time to be entirely devoted to you. Work out when or how often you need to see your boss and book short meetings on a regular basis with them. Prepare and summarise data and present options, suggestions and solutions to keep these meetings action driven. That way you know what to focus your time on.

Avoid making assumptions

One of the first mistakes I made was to assume my first boss knew how to manage me. Most bosses are busy working on their own priorities and they forget that one of their key areas of effort should be on their staff. Another mistake is to think that your boss knows more than you do, they may know what they are doing at management level but it’s a rare boss who knows the day to day shop floor tasks.

Be a problem solver

Avoid being the person your boss dreads, i.e: the moaner who whinges about problems and even worse, the member of staff who always dumps problems in their lap. Develop your problem solving skills. What is the problem? Get into the habit of analysing the problem and gathering facts. Only by doing this will you be able to come up with a solution.

Develop a relationship based on trust

Careless errors and poor quality work will erode your boss’s confidence and trust in you. You may find if you produce shoddy work your responsibilities will be reduced which will erode your confidence in yourself. So try to always produce quality work. Another thing to do is never criticise your boss as this will result in a loss of trust if they find out and believe me they will.

Provide constructive feedback

It is not healthy to keep quiet in any important relationship if things are not going well. Your relationship with your boss is a key relationship in your life, we spend a lot of time at work and we need to get on with those who manage us. If you are not happy about any aspect of your job you must tell your boss, by the same token if there is an area of your job that you love make sure you give this feedback as well.

Accept they may be different

Everyone is different. Our differences include our values, beliefs, standards and views on the world. When we care or respect someone we accept their differences and work with them, accepting that they may behave or believe in different things to us but that doesn’t mean you can’t work with them. Accept your boss is different to you and you will find your relationship with them will be better.

Increase your boundaries

Bosses often assume that their staff will struggle if given a task outside their comfort zone. Let your boss know what skills you have and what skills you would like to develop. Look at jobs that interest you or will enhance your experience, this includes taking on jobs which will give you more responsibility.


Make time to celebrate jobs that go well. In work we often make the time to analyse how jobs went wrong which is really negative. Use positivity in all working relationships and remember your boss needs a positive pat on the back too! Provide positive feedback to ensure good things are celebrated.

So the conclusion is commit yourself to managing your boss and you will maximise your potential and I promise you this will help with your long term career goals.

Angela Burton