Manage Your Boss, Advance Your Career
Penelope Trunk offers this advice in her book The Brazen Careerist:
“Unless your boss breaks the law or is unethical, you don’t have a bad boss — you are managing yours poorly.”
Use this same framework to review how you are manage your career. How you are striving to accomplish your career objectives? Don’t let your boss limit you or stand in your way. If you learn how to manage your boss, you will advance your career.
Successful working women know that every boss has something to offer, and they figure out what that is – or they leave. What does your boss have to offer you?
- Something you need to learn
- Great management or … how not to manage
- Great leadership … or how not to lead
- A great network
- Is he or she a mentor? Even better, a sponsor?
- An example of how to navigate organizational politics … or how not to
After you figure what you 1) need for this stage of your career, 2) what your boss has to offer, and 3) what he or she doesn’t do well, you can strategically manage the relationship you have with your boss.
It’s pretty simple, really:
- Learn what you can
- Help your manager succeed by shoring up their weaknesses with your strengths
- Perform and achieve results
- Then, ASK for what you want
What will not be helpful to your boss (or to you, or to the place you work) is constant complaining.
A common lament that I hear from employees at companies where I consult is how the CEO or a specific manager is too strategic but doesn’t think through or work on the details of implementation. If you have that sort of manager, you take on the implementation, you dive into the weeds on the details.
Conversely, I hear others speak of managers that are not strategic enough. If this more accurately reflects your circumstance, then you and your team have a great opportunity to provide strategic input and direction. I also hear of managers that are too results focused and not good at managing people. Again, that represents the potential opportunity to achieve significant results. You may just have to accept that you will have to get your strokes and positive reinforcement elsewhere.
If you have some constructive feedback for you boss – provide it. If your manager is lacking in a skill area, realize that’s where you have an opportunity to shine.
When you have learned all that you can and contributed to the best of your abilities, thank your boss and then find the next one.