Care about your manager’s success? You should!

Posted by on Feb 25, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

So you have a boss.  Mostly everyone does. Some people out there will even argue that actually everyone has a boss.  Maybe you are a boss yourself, or you want to be. Either way, you probably already know that bosses have many responsibilities and a lot is expected of them. These expectations come from different levels, and employees are no exception.

Employees tend to demand a lot of their bosses and that is obviously the way it should be.  Employees want their bosses to help them be successful, to support them, to give them direction, to look out for them and give them praise. But, in many cases, these expectations come from a one-directional way of looking at the employee/supervisor relationship. Any of these ring a bell? “My boss is just not doing enough to support me”; “My boss doesn’t care about me, he doesn’t take the time to meet with me”; “She doesn’t bother to learn more about what is important for me”. Well, if they do, then it could be that you could in fact have a boss that needs to do a better job. It can also be that you yourself could do a better job as well. Maybe is both.

We all want success, in whatever way each one of us defines it, and many times our focus and all our efforts go towards achieving it and as employees we expect that our bosses are right there with us helping us get there. But have you ever asked yourself how much do you give to your own relationship with your boss and how intentional are you about helping him or her achieve their own success? Be honest. Probably you haven’t thought about it this way. At least not as much as you should.

I challenge you. Think about it for a minute. As someone’s employee you have a huge role in contributing to your boss’ success. If you do, and are genuine about it, this success will also trickle down to you and you will be seen as a driver of results, as a great leader in your role, and as someone that your boss knows he or she can trust and count on. Even more, your relationship with your boss will be exponentially better, and that alone makes your journey to success easier and more enjoyable.

Let me make something clear. This doesn’t mean that you have to take on your boss’ duties or that you have to do their job, no, no, no. It means that you have to understand and be aware of the things that you can do within your own role and scope of work to contribute to your boss’ success. It also means that you have a responsibility to make every effort possible to make the relationship work well.

Take ownership of your relationship with your boss, and take the necessary steps to make the best of it. If it’s already good, make it even better, if it’s not as good, look at what you can do to improve it. Be willing to take full responsibility for the quality of the relationship. Learn about what your boss values most – both professionally and personally, how he or she defines success in their role and for their career, what drives him or her to succeed, what are the behaviors that frustrate him or her the most.

Take the initiative, it may not be easy and it could be uncomfortable at first. But try. Your manager will appreciate it and you will have great insights on what you can do to help him or her succeed.  It will get easier with time and your relationship with your boss will strengthen, this alone, will make you more successful. If your boss happens to be of the kind that is hard to reach out to, don’t get discouraged, remember that relationships are not built overnight.

Now, if you have a boss and are a boss, while you are making sure you are helping your own supervisor be successful, also remember that your employees will be trying to do the same with you. So be responsive when they reach out to understand and learn more about your own definition of success, and help them, help you be more successful. 

2014©Karen Klingberg.  Karen Klingberg, Certified Executive Coach, Speaker and Leadership Blogger, owns [ph+] Coaching where she helps individuals improve leadership skills and build high performance organizations.  Karen also facilitates Omaha, NE groups for ELEVATE Your Leaders©, a uniquely designed and unusually effective leadership program for high potential managers.