The libraries are stuffed, book-shops are getting flooded and authors are wiping out forests for books on how to manage yourself, subordinates, peers, relatives, spouses, children and even parents. Volumes are written about Strategies, Rules and Chicken soups recipes of how to get success. Surprisingly enough, there are hardly any books written on the person who has been one of the most essential and substantial architects for an individual’s success in any organization. That is, one’s own manager, the superior, the boss (Mr. B)!! It is easy to treat them as a position above you, your duty to please him/her or…even a nuisance. But whether you like it or not, no one, except your superior, can have greater stake in you enjoying your job and how far you succeed in it.
Many a times we are so engrossed in managing people who work for us, that we often neglect the more important aspect of managing those, we work for and those we work with…We fancy ourselves as great performers just by managing (or many times not managing) the jobs that end up on our TO DO list. Performance matched by right kind of Presentation can lead to excellence, but this when supported by Boss Management, can lead to Recognition.
Mr. B is also an individual, with head and heart, with a pre-defined personality, with prejudices, with positive and negative beliefs as well as value systems, like any other human being…While the personal characteristics, and therefore, likes and dislikes, differ from person to person, i.e. from boss to boss, the following seven golden rules, known as BOSSCAT ™, prove to be effective boss management techniques. With these rules being meticulously followed, the individuals would be able to ‘bell the cat’ (problems related to the boss management).
Be a part of the solution and not the problem
Whenever there is a business problem which needs escalation, raise the problem to your boss, with possible solutions. Offer the analysis on pros and cons of each of the options. If your imagination stops or your risk-aversive nature is unsure about the possible solutions, wait and collect as much relevant information as possible about the problem, to facilitate your boss in getting a complete perspective. Also, don’t raise the panic button for the boss, as he/she has to set his/her own priorities. Ensure that he/she has enough time to reshuffle his/her already set schedule. Don’t lean and bend on the boss completely, try working out solutions, yourself and if possible, take his/her help only where it is beyond your control.
Any boss is also a subordinate and peer to someone, answerable and accountable to someone. He/she also has certain tasks, pressing timelines and even more challenges than you can think that he/she has. Support your boss in streamlining data, if any, or in arranging files in such a way that all the pieces of information are threaded properly. Help him/her to analyse and structure his/her presentation to his/her higher-ups and this shall be appreciated by your boss a long way. Be accessible all the time, just in case he/she needs you, before any critical meetings or briefings that he/she needs to attend.
A recent research report on “What Bosses hate the most?” in US showed that, 76% of the managers rated “(unpleasant) Surprises”, thrown by the team member as one of the strongest dislikes. Please be the first to inform your boss of changes that are going to take place in your routine, if any, in near or reasonable future. In situations, where you are not able to inform the boss in advance, please do the same, at your earliest convenience. As far as possible, complete your pending tasks before staying away from the office and update your boss about the jobs completed.
Signals: Watch out for mood.
We often get trapped in capturing what is said and ignore what is expressed through paralanguage, in terms of gestures, body language, tone variations, etc. Do also pay attention to the mood swings of your boss. For example, it is better to check the availability and acceptability of the boss who normally keeps the door of his/her office open, in case he/she suddenly decides to close the door, on a particular day. More often we get hit by this turbulence generated by the bad mood cloud (or clouds!!). At such a time, it becomes imperative to gauge and allow someone that personal space, especially when that someone happens to be your boss.
Communicate at the comfort-level.
Today there is an information explosion all over and your boss is a victim too, for sure. It is important that we submit to our superior(s), the information which is important, desirable and by the channel most convenient to him/her. Most of us assume that bosses prefer only most formal, most detailed and most impersonal methods of communication. Hence many of us send volumes of reports, drafts running into pages or even lengthy emails… It is important to know and to get the message across in the ‘preferred’ mode of communication, looking at the appropriateness of the time. This can be anything, ranging from face-to-face discussions, telephone, email, summaries to even a lengthy report. These ‘preferred’ means must be discovered and used for bridging the communication gap, if any.
Assertive, but with reasons.
Many a times, the superior out of his/her ignorance or otherwise throws some tasks at you and you are buried under loads of assignments, up to your eyes, in it. You are not required to accept because it is important to be assertive rather than taking on more than you can chew. This might lead to exhaustion or you missing the deadline. But it is not enough to just say ‘NO’ and stand up like a statue. Explaining your situation, with positive suggestions, to your superior and getting his/her to decide your priority will generate greater awareness and confidence about your contribution to the team. Saying an upfront NO or missing a deadline makes your situation worse. Instead, taking a third course ensures you are positively helping your boss to organize work.
Treat the boss as a person, first.
As discussed earlier in this article, your boss is a person, first. He/she has his/her own motivators, stressors and reinforcing sources. Discover these… It might sound simple but it requires genuine interest on your part, an investment of your time to study the world around your boss. Know what interests him/her and why? OR What keeps him/her going? Is it money, power, knowledge, intelligence or silent support. What are his/her turn-on(s) and simultaneously what could be his/her turn-offs? It is quite unlikely, given the social fabric that we live in, that the boss is going to formally announce or give you all these details in writing. However, if you are to discover any of these, you may get an edge over your colleagues, without them realizing it or may be without even your BOSS realizing it…
These simple BOSSCAT techniques can help you immensely in:
- Understanding your boss and his expectations better.
- Improving your own effectiveness and thereby your visible performance.
- Enhancing your interpersonal relationship with your boss and thereby the team.
- Better Conflict Management.
- Reducing communication gap between you and your boss.
And last but not the least…
- Gaining ‘PEACE OF MIND’
About the Author:
HEMANG DESAI, (MSW; PGDPC; DipTD) is currently operating as a freelance HR Advisor, Success Coach and Business Process consultant. He is advising some of the Small & Medium sized enterprises for their HR Strategies, Policies and processes for effective performance of people and thereby of the organization. His forte lies in building and restructuring Organizations for sustainable growth.
Having nearly two decades of experience in managing Strategic Business & HR interventions with some of the most esteemed organizations, he has created a niche with his stellar success in blending strategy into execution for highly intellectual workforce. He has been featured in Asia’s Who’s Who by HRM Asia Journal, Singapore.
He is pragmatic and believes firmly that ‘nothing except change is consistent’.
For any feedback/suggestions or questions, author can be reached at email@example.com.