Note: This article is part of the series on Tips for Managing Your Relationship With Your Boss

Tip: Start Managing Your Relationship With Your Boss to create a more rewarding and harmonious workplace. Improve your relationships and get better bonuses, increases and promotions by working smarter, not harder.

When we think of managing someone, we usually think of managing our team members or subordinates.

Many people view the term ‘Managing Your Boss’ as suspicious and may even perceive it to be a devious or manipulative action. Why would you need to manage your boss unless it was for personal or political gain? This makes sense, of course. Because organizations have traditionally tended to have a top-down emphasis on management.

This is why many managers don’t ‘manage their relationships with their boss. Which is a huge disadvantage to both themselves and their bosses.

Your Relationship With Your Boss is Your Single Most Important Work Relationship

The thing is that your relationship with your boss is the most important work relationship that you have.

Because it's this relationship that determines:

  • What work you do,

  • Your career progression,

  • Your increases and bonuses,

  • But ultimately your work happiness too.

Because if you have a bad relationship or communications with your boss, you are going to hate your job.

A bad relationship with your boss can make your work life miserable. A bad relationship with your boss can also jeopardize your chances for promotion or send you to the unemployment line. But there are steps that you can take to manage the single most important work relationship you have,

Take a minute to ask yourself:

  • Do you know what exact deliverables your boss wants from you?

  • Do you know what your boss’s goals and objectives are?

  • Do you meet regularly with your boss (at least once a week) to tell them what you’re working on and give them status updates?

  • Do you know your boss’s preferred communication style?

If you answered mostly “NO” to the above then it’s a sign that you don’t have to accept a bad boss. You can take charge of your destiny and start managing up - start managing your relationship with your boss.

What Does it Mean to “Manage Your Boss”?

Managing your boss might sound like a bizarre, new-age thing to do. Managers manage their staff - not the other way around. But this isn’t anything new. The term ‘Managing Your Boss’ first appeared in 1980, in a Harvard Business Review article written by two well-known socio-psychologists, John Gabarro and John Kotter.

And it’s more of a symbiotic relationship. Bosses need cooperation, reliability, and honesty from their direct reports. And managers rely on bosses to make connections with the rest of the company, set priorities, and obtain critical resources.

Now sometimes you just get stuck with a bad boss - and that’s why it up to you to manage your relationship with your boss.

Taking Responsibility for Your Boss Relationship

If the relationship between you and your boss is ineffective, then the onus is on you to start managing it better. Take time to cultivate a productive working relationship – by understanding your boss’s strengths and weaknesses, priorities, and work style. When you do you’ll have a win-win situation.

Managing your relationship with your boss will:

  • Get your achievements recognized

  • Make sure you are working on the right things

  • Make sure you aren't wasting your time on things your boss doesn't want and

  • Get you work that you enjoy and are good at

I’m going to show you five best practice tips for Managing Your Relationship With Your Boss - so look out for the emails.

P.S: Did you know that weekly one on ones are the best place to manage your boss relationship.


Do you have any questions, comments or tips for managing your relationship with your boss? Please help the rest of us out by sharing in the comments below.

Boss Camp

If you think about it, the job of a Boss is to get people to do stuff. But getting people to do what you want must be one of the toughest things in the world. That’s whyWWW.BOSS.CAMP is about making managing easy in just an hour a week. The program includes topics such as:

  • How to hire for performance,
  • How to motivate employees,
  • What are bad employee motivators,
  • What you must do as a manager but isn't on your job description,
  • How leaders get power.