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How to Get the Boss to do What You Want

Rachel Farrell, Special to CareerBuilder

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Ah, the boss-employee relationship. You go through your days doing work to please your boss, make your boss look better, to help him get his job done. Do you ever find yourself asking, "How can I get my boss to do what I want?"

It all comes down something called managing up. If you're already doing great things for your boss -- which you undoubtedly are -- then the next step is managing your relationship with your boss so that he can do good things for you, too.

Most employees answer to multiple bosses -- some directly and others indirectly, says Bruce Tulgan, author of "It's Okay To Be The Boss." Being pulled in different directions by contending authority figures with competing interests and agendas is hard because all of them have the ability to improve or worsen your daily work conditions, your chances of getting rewards and your long-term career prospects, he says.

"Under these circumstances, you are the only one you can control. You can control your role and conduct in each of these relationships," Tulgan says. "You can control how you manage and how you get what you need from these relationships. You have no choice: If you want to survive, succeed and prosper, you have to get really good at managing your bosses."
Remember, you rely on your immediate boss more than any other individual for meeting your basic needs and expectations at work, Tulgan explains.

"The boss defines your work experience. To become and remain a consistent high performer, you need bosses who are strong and highly engaged, who know exactly who you are and exactly what you are doing every step of the way," he says. "You need strong bosses, so you are going to have to help them get there. That means you need to take charge and start managing your boss. You need to take responsibility for your role and your conduct in every single management relationship with every single boss."

If you're able to manage your boss effectively, it can reap major benefits for your career, Tulgan says.

"I hear back from people I've trained just about every day that, as result of following these steps and working closer with their bosses, they are getting more work done better and faster, running into fewer problems, solving problems more quickly, wasting fewer resources, achieving greater success, and earning more credit and rewards for their effort," he says.

In order to manage your boss, or get him to do what you want, you need a strategy, Tulgan says.

"You shouldn't try to manage your boss in some kind of tricky way so the boss doesn't notice. You need to talk with your boss and establish clear ground rules for how you are going to work together and how you are going to get what you need," Tulgan says. "Be the employee who says to every boss, 'Great news, I'm going to take responsibility for my part of this management relationship! Count on me. With your help, I'm going to be really valuable to you!'"
Here are Tulgan's seven steps to the basics of managing your boss:
1. The first person you have to manage every day is yourself.
2. Get in the habit of managing your boss every day.
3. Take it one boss at a time, one day at a time.
4. Get clear expectations from your boss every step of the way.
5. Get your hands on the resources you need to succeed.
6. Track your performance every step of the way.
7. Go the extra mile to earn credit and more rewards.

Rachel Farrell researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for Follow @CBForJobSeekers on Twitter.

Last Updated: 13/10/2010 - 11:01 AM

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