Are You Waiting for Your Boss to Do These 5 Things?

How to manage a bad boss

What are the traits and behaviors that the best leaders integrate into their day-to-day interaction with their teams? You probably have a list.

Here are the top 5 things that my coaching clients tell me they want from their boss:

  1. Organized and transparent in their focus
  2. Set clear expectations for you
  3. Provide positive, constructive feedback that helps you improve
  4. Give you credit for a job well done
  5. Buffer you from unfair criticism or negative politics

Are you still waiting for your boss to deliver on some of these expectations? Are you disappointed that your boss has failed on some, or all, of these points?

In my work as a career coach and executive coach, I hear similar themes and issues concerning the leadership skill (or lack thereof) of the boss. This concern is equally true at the supervisor level and CEO level.

Why is that?

The reason is simple: most leaders haven’t been provided the right level of training and mentoring to build practical leadership skills. Many leaders would like to get better, and just like you, they are struggling with some aspects of their job.

Don’t give up just yet, though. You can learn to manage up effectively by taking responsibility for the success of the relationship. There are a few steps you can take to manage up successfully.

5 Secrets to Managing Your Boss
Even if your boss is scattered and overwhelmed, or lacks the strategic vision necessary to lead your team, there’s hope. Instead of waiting for your boss to get it right when it comes to leadership, take ownership of the relationship.

Here are five things you can start working on today to improve your relationship with your boss:

  1. Learn his communication style and adapt
  2. Set up regular, brief check-ins with her (Hint: when she cancels at the last minute, insist on rescheduling)
  3. Have a written agenda and provide a copy for him (Keep it high level, brief, and focused on the top three priorities)
  4. Think about what’s in it for her. What are her priorities? How can you help her succeed?
  5. Be a problem solver, not a problem reporter. Think proactively about what report or update he will need next

Even if your current boss never becomes the ideal boss for you, applying these managing up strategies can help you become more visible and promotable.