Keys For Managing Your Boss

by | Feb 24, 2014 | Blog

  • Amy Letke

    Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success. Contact us for more insights - 502-753-0970 or

Hi everyone! This is Amy Letke bringing you the 12 Keys for Managing Your Boss – A 12 Step Program! You can either watch the video to get all the information or just read it below!

Keys For Managing Your Boss – A 12 Step Program

After working in Human Resource for the past 20 years, I believe that managing your boss is one of the most important things you can master as a business professional.

Now, maybe you’ve already mastered this! If so, send this over to a friend or colleague who might need a little help. If you are unsure, keep reading!

Today, we want to give you an overview of the 12 steps for success in regards to managing your boss. I know about these personally because I’ve lived through these throughout my career. I bet you’ve seen some of these too!

Step 1 – Study Your Boss’s Style

Now this step is critical when it comes to managing your boss. When we think about behavior and how a person behaves at work, sometimes our bosses are a lot different than we are. Aren’t they? Maybe they are a lot the same. You could have a boss that just wants the facts. Comparatively, you could have a boss that likes to visit and talk about family a lot. Either way, you have to adjust your style.

Don’t go against the grain! Try to work with it. When you meet what your boss needs in terms of communication, delivery and patience – you’re going to win.

Step 2 – Manage Expectations

If your boss wants a weekly report, give them a weekly report. And give it to them on time! If you’re not sure what your boss wants in terms of expectations and deliverables, this is an opportunity for you to make that entrée.

If you don’t know what the expectations are, suggest some. Or better yet, ask what’s expected. Early on in my career, my boss wanted a weekly report. He had to deliver this to his board of directors and he wanted to know exactly what I was doing in Human Resources to help him meet his overall objectives.

Once I got that report formatted in a way he found the most beneficial, we were working in complete sync. That was wonderful! Think about those expectations that you can find out about to help you improve your boss’s performance as well as well as your own.


Step 3 – Be A Solution Provider

Nobody wants to work with somebody who always says that they can’t get the project done or they complain about how much time a project takes.

You want to be the go to person. Every boss likes a go-to person. When your boss is coming to you to get things done, to get your input and advice, then you are a key person to the team.

When you are a key person, it helps make sure you are top of mind when the next opportunity comes around. It also helps you be top of mind when things aren’t going so well. In these times of downsizing, high performers and “go-to people” keep their jobs.

So be a solution provider!

Step 4 – Be prepared!

I love this Boy Scout model! This model applies so much in business. You need to manage your boss’s time. I put this on here specifically because when you think about time overall – we never have enough of it. You don’t have enough time and your boss doesn’t have enough time. Time is so precious.

You need to be prepared for a meeting with an agenda and then make sure to take notes during the meeting. At the end, you can review your notes with your boss so that you are both clear on the next steps.

That puts you in a very good position because you know what your deliverables need to be and you can go get those done according to schedule. So be prepared for meetings, events and other things that your boss might need. When you are prepared, you will see higher levels of success.

Step 5 – No Whining!

The fact of the matter is that no body likes a complainer! Think about the people you work around every day and who takes up most of your time. Is it the solution providers or the complainers?

If you’re a whiner, think about what you’re complaining about. Is it legitimate or not? Turn the situation around and think of some suggestions. Take a look at something that is not working and instead of being part of the problem, be part of the solution. Make suggestions and recommendations to your boss to fix a situation instead of complaining about it!

Step 6 – Be Respectful!

At all times you should be respectful of the people you work with. This includes your colleagues, your boss and the people who report to you. If you talk smack about somebody else at work, what does that say about you as a person and as a professional?

You need to make other people a priority, particularly your boss. Making your boss look good is a huge success criterion for you. And when you make your boss look good, you look good as well. Be respectful. Don’t talk disrespectfully of other people. And address people face to face in private, not in public, if you have a difference in opinion of how something needs to be handled. If you follow these steps, you will become a stronger leader and more respected for your level of professionalism in the office.

Step 7 – Keep Him or Her Informed

Nobody likes to be blindsided when that big bad news comes. We all want to be on the upside. If I’m the boss and you know something bad is happening and I find out about it from somebody else instead of you, it won’t be good. Keep the boss informed of not only the bad things or potential problems, but the good things as well.

Maybe you can be the bearer of great news! Most importantly, make sure you keep the boss informed that could be problematic so that they can respond quickly. Once again, this makes you a solution provider!

Step 8 – Be “On Top” Of Things

If you’ve been assigned a project or an assignment of some sort, make sure you are on it; you are going forward with it. If you need help, raise your hand and say, “Hey I just don’t know what to do here. I need help.” But don’t let it linger.

People that get things done are the go to person for the boss. And if you’re that kind of person that can be counted on, again, that gives you much better security for your position and for future opportunities.

Step 9 – Look Good- You & The Boss

Now I alluded to this earlier, but image is important. Whether you’re in manufacturing, the service industry, maybe even a hospital environment, how you look and how you present yourself is important.

Think about the words that you choose when you’re in a meeting; when you’re meeting with other people, when you’re inside of work, when you’re outside of work. So think about how you look and make sure you position your boss in a favorable light.

I think about times that I interview candidates for a client, and that candidate might say some negative things about their boss. What do you think that makes me think? What do you think about when other people speak poorly of their boss, poorly about their company, or poorly about the people they work with? What are they going to say about you when they are working for you?

It’s important. Look good to your boss, look good for your boss and present a positive image about your company and about where you are going.

And if you aren’t happy, then find a way to get happy or maybe it’s time to move on.

Step 10 – Be Honest

Admit to your mistakes. There is nothing worse to a boss than having someone just try and shove stuff under the rug. “Oh, it’s not going to come back. I just want this thing to go away.” No. Be open, be honest and go to them first before they find out about it from someone else. Make them a priority, don’t lie and be upfront.

Step 11 – Anticipate Their Needs

Anticipating needs is so critical, isn’t it? When you think about what your boss might need for a meeting, and you’re able to provide that; or maybe you know there is a special event happening, and you’re the one to say, “Hey, I have an idea of how this might go a little bit better.” Or maybe there’s something going on in your organization where you have a solution to a situation where there’s a potential problem.

Anticipate the needs that your boss might have. When they are planning an event and they have a lot of things going on, if you are anticipating what they might need, then you are also being helpful and becoming even more valuable to your boss. Anticipating needs and helping to fulfill those needs makes you even more valuable.

Step 12 – No One is Perfect

I haven’t seen anyone walk on water in a long time but let me tell you something, recognize that you are going to make mistakes. And guess what? Your boss is as well. So, do your best to forgive and move on when you possibly can.

Whether it’s you, your boss, your peers, or somebody else in the organization, if we hang on to all that bad karma it doesn’t make us any better as a professional, does it? But it can give us the opportunity to make things better, both for ourselves, for our boss by employing these other eleven techniques along with this one.

Now, you may have a bad boss overall and say, “You know what, I’ve tried all these things, Amy, and it’s still not working!” Well you know, that’s ok. Sometimes we get a bad boss and we’ve got to make a decision, don’t we? But that’s up to you and putting yourself in control to make good decisions is what these twelve steps are all about.

These are the twelve steps. I want to see you take them and make them really effective within your organization. Let me know how they are going or share this with someone else who you might think will find it helpful to them in their career. So make it a great day! I want you to go out and see success and give me your feedback in the comments below!

If you’re a boss and just read this, let me know if I left anything out. What do you like your employees to do help your business succeed?

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