Managing Your Manager So That You Can Effectively Lead Your Team

By Dianne Shaddock

Becoming a mid-level manager is a substantial accomplishment. At the same time, you are now responsible for dealing with stress from above and below. Is your boss overriding your authority and trying to lead your team without your help? By asking yourself these following questions, you can start managing your manager before you start typing up your resignation letter.

Is It You?

Think about your boss’s point of view for a moment. Is s/he taking over because your boss feels that you are not doing your job? Do you need more training, additional resources, better operational plans or just more time to build a level of trust? Are you communicating directions quickly enough and clearly enough so your team comprehends the business’s priorities? Avoid making assumptions without discussing a matter first.

Is It The Boss?

Is your manager afraid to relinquish control? Is s/he under pressures that you do not understand? Is your manager new to the position and not aware that he is trampling on your toes? Ask your boss about their expectations. Your manager may prefer that you follow their lead instead of setting your own agenda.

Is It Your Relationship?

Some managers send mixed messages simply because they do not talk to each other. They give staff members conflicting information about deadlines, procedures and even work schedules. To minimize these occasions, set up regular meetings and discuss priorities. Establish a process for filtering projects, questions and tasks down to front-line employees and up to senior leaders. If you have examples of manager interference, discuss them after a cooling off period. In the end, learn whether your boss prefers instant action or thorough investigation. You can even take a class to learn how to blend your communication styles and work better together toward the same goals.

Is It the Company?

Some business cultures take a very top-down approach to operations. Even when you are entrusted with a specific duty, you may be micromanaged because everyone else is treated the same way. Talk with your peers and uncover whether they struggle with the same issues. You may need to learn how to cope or get out of the way.

In most cases, managing your manager effectively involves communication and persistence. Always take your issues directly to the person involved, and never talk badly about your boss to your subordinates. In severe cases of meddling bosses, you may want to seek advice from an executive at a higher level or from a human resources consultant.

About the author

Dianne Shaddock is the Founder of Easy Small Business HR, and the author of the book,” How To Supervise: What Your Boss Never Told You Before You Took The Job”, a step-by-step guide for hiring, managing, and retaining your employees.

Categories: Managing & Leading

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