In an ideal situation, employees would love their day jobs, be content with their job titles, and never struggle for growth. However, let’s face the facts — not all career situations are ideal. With a great job comes more responsibility and 9 times out of 10, you face less than ideal obstacles.
According to psychologist Matias Brødsgaard Grynderup, “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.”
We know how hard you have worked at your career to get to this very point. You’ve spent extra hours working into the night, skipped a few fun weekends to meet deadlines, and you can honestly admit that you love your job with one exception – dealing with your manager. Managers can sometimes be that thorn in your side that will not go away. He or she constantly digs in deeper and eventually makes you want to throw up your hands in surrender. Let’s stop that downward cycle of thoughts right there, remember, this is your perfect dream job. This is where you are supposed to prop up your legs on your desk, sit back and think, “Man, I really made it.” So now, what should you do? Simple. You learn to manage your manager.
Change Your Thinking
Your first step should be making a subtle shift in your behavior by thinking about your manager as a difficult client, someone you might not care to work with, but must in order to get ahead. This should be the easy part as you we know you did not get to where you are today without sucking it up and putting the client first. The rest is going to take a bit more patience and determination.
A recent Forbes article, noted seven strategies that are key to understanding how to manage up:
- Know their “why”: identify prime motivations. This means putting yourself in your manager’s shoes to see the world, and your workplace, as they might. Once you know what drives your manager, frame your opinions and use language that lines up with their core values, concerns, and priorities.
- Support your manager’s success: work around his weaknesses. Exposing your manager as incompetent is never a good idea, as it may compound your misery and damage your reputation. Instead, do what you can to help your manager succeed, something that lays a solid foundation for your long-term success.
- Take the high road: your personal brand is riding on it. Don’t let your manager’s bad behavior be an excuse for your own. Keep yourself focused on being a top performer and choose to act like the leader you wish he was.
- Speak up: give your manager a chance to respond. While it’s easier to “suffer quietly,” complain to colleagues or extricate yourself from the situation by leaving the company, you might be surprised at what happens when you approach your manager with respect and a genuine desire to make things better.
- Know your manager’s preferences: adapt to them. Become familiar with your manager’s behavioral style, preferences, and pet peeves–and match your style to theirs as much as you can. This will go a long way toward ensuring your manager hears what you’re saying.
- Don’t be intimidated by a bully: stand tall. If your manager is a yeller, criticizer or judge, stand firm, because people who bully get their power from those who cower and show fear. If you ask questions, seek to understand, and work to defuse difficult situations with a level head, your bullying manager will wield his power over someone else.
- Be proactive: do your research. Your ideal situation is not to have to manage a bad manager at all. Do your homework before making an internal move or joining a new company. Determine whether leaders inspire people and support those who work hard, or create a toxic environment ruled by inappropriately used power.
If you embrace the concept of managing up–consciously working with your manager to obtain the best possible mutually beneficial results–you’ll find yourself on the fast track to success. If you choose the other route, railing against incompetence or those with different personalities, you’ll find it more challenging to advance your career.
Your Success is our Success
At WorthPointe, we are a team of Certified Financial Planner™ professionals whose success is literally based on your success. We know that your career is one of your top priorities which is why we take the time to offer advice and support. Sometimes dreaming about retirement makes dealing with your manager much easier. For the retirement dream to come true you better be sure you have set a solid financial plan in place. If you are not sure if you are on target for retirement, contact us for a complimentary review.
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