Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Guest Post: Managing Your Manager


By Heather Green

Even managers have managers. Our bosses don’t always make our work life easy. A bad boss can impede the ability to work efficiently, can foster a negative work environment, or can be an obstacle to career advancement. Effective leaders understand how to manage these relationships in order to take charge of their own success. If you feel that your manager is making it difficult to do your best work or to enjoy your job, here are some ways that you can better manage the relationship:

Pinpoint the Issue

What exactly is it that is causing the problem for you? Do you feel undervalued as an employee? Do you feel that your manager changing decisions is undermining your work? Do you have a personality conflict? Getting to the root of your frustrations can help you understand how to solve the problem. Next, look to understand your manager. What are his personal values? What is her work philosophy? Understanding how your boss approaches management of the company or department and its employees can help you understand how approach him.

Improve Communication

Communication is key to every relationship in business. The type of communication you have with your manager can make or break your relationship and the success of your job. Start improving communication by having regular meetings with your boss so that you are both on the same page about the work you are doing. Take the opportunity to inform your boss about your current projects, issues with any employees you manage, client needs that you are addressing, and any other work you are doing. Even if you don’t have a formal meeting, make sure that you are keeping your boss in the loop. This kind of communication can reassure your boss of your competence (in case questions about your abilities were causing micromanagement or other problem behaviors) and can help you build a strong relationship over time.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Your boss didn’t e-mail you with the information you needed when you asked. Maybe he showed up late for a meeting that you were running. Bosses are people, and people aren’t perfect. Decide what’s important, and forget about the things that aren’t. If you get upset about every little annoyance, you’ll never be happy. Learn to prioritize what’s important, and find ways to resolve issues.

Don’t Try to Change Your Boss

People are who they are, and unless they are abusive or destructive in some way, you shouldn’t try to change them. You’ll only become more frustrated and unhappy in the process. Instead of trying to change your manager’s behavior, work on finding ways around your boss to do the job you need to do. If you know he is often late, plan to start a meeting with less important business or with socializing briefly with clients. If you know that your boss is bad about responding to e-mails, make a habit of stopping by his office or giving him a quick phone call. You’ll be able to get your work done, and you can move past the frustration of trying to make things different.

Know When to Leave

Sometimes, a bad boss is just a bad boss, and dealing with that person can keep you from the job satisfaction and success that you desire. Learn to recognize when the situation is just unmanageable, and don’t be afraid to move on and find a better situation. While it is important to know how to work with every type of personality, it is also true that compatibility can be critical to career success. Don’t be afraid to look for a boss and a work environment that is a better fit for you and that will inspire your best performance.

Even if you are a manager yourself, learning how to manage relationships with your boss and other superiors is a critical skill for career success. Ensuring a good relationship with your boss will help you to do your best work and to advance. If you have a difficult or counterproductive relationship with your manager, these steps will help improve the relationship.

Heather Green is a freelance writer for several regional magazines in North Carolina as well as a resident blogger for onlinenursingdegrees.org. Her writing experience includes fashion, business, health, agriculture and a wide range of other topics. Heather has just completed research on online nursing programs and online nursing schools.

The Product Management Perspective: The nature of product management organizations often leads to loose-knit teams where each PM spends more time with other teams (e.g. development) and where team members are less engaged with each other than in most other disciplines. More than 81% of product managers report to a director or higher, which explains why PM teams are often “loosely coupled” (as our dev friends like to say). If you are a product manger, applying the ideas above will help. Whether he’s the CEO or more like a peer, you will benefit by strengthening the relationship with your manager.

3 thoughts on “Guest Post: Managing Your Manager

  1. Great post! The employee-manager relationship can be tricky. How you manage that relationship and how you communicate with your manager are very important. Here is another great post about communicating with your manager…


  2. Pingback: Bscopes – Best Leadership Blogs « rapidbibusinessimprovement

  3. Pingback: bscopes best leadership blogs | RAPIDBI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s