How To Coach Your Boss

The relationship you have with your boss is very important on both a professional and a personal level. It can have a significant influence on your day-to-day job satisfaction as well as your long-term career success.

The relationship is also important to your boss who is counting on you, and your colleagues, to satisfy customers, meet deadlines and achieve objectives.

But keeping this relationship healthy and productive is not about 'managing' your boss: it's about understanding them, and you, and then choosing to behave in a way that gets the best results for you, your boss and the organisation.

Only by understanding your mutual needs, styles, expectations, strengths and weaknesses can you develop a relationship that works for both of you.

In any relationship what you say and do influences the other person. You can't change your boss but you can control your own behaviour. It's important, therefore, to understand what you do that either helps or hinders the relationship. Here are some actions you can take to make the relationship work. Take responsibility for your own career and personal development

Ask for feedback throughout the year - don't just wait for performance reviews. Learn how to evaluate your own performance - what are you doing well; what do you need to improve on.

Take responsibility for performance reviews

Be aware that not all bosses are good at holding review meetings so help by being as positive as you can be, even if you don't like some of the criticism you may receive.

Discuss mutual expectations openly

Find out what your boss's expectations are and share your own. Tell your boss what development and support you need. Don't assume they'll  Use your boss's time well and develop good timing automatically know.  yourself

Your boss's time is limited so make good use of it, don't waste it. Find out if your boss is a lark (good first thing in the morning) or an owl (better later in the day) and choose your moment to raise issues.

Have a 'no surprises' policy

Communicate bad news immediately. There's nothing worse for your boss than being called to task by his/her boss about something they know nothing about.

Identify your boss's preferred working style

How do they like to receive information - face-to-face, in writing, by email? How much do they like to be involved in decisions? How organised are they - can they cope with a little chaos? How comfortable are they with risk taking? How 'hands-on' or 'hands-off' are they - can you use your own initiative?

Recognise and appreciate your boss's strengths

Compliment your boss when they do something you like; that way they'll learn the actions and attitudes that work for you.

Remember, bosses are human too

Bosses make mistakes too. If your boss is reasonable when you make a mistake then you should be prepared to do the same for them.

Perfect the art of compromise

If you want to do something one way and your boss wants it done another, find out why, don't just argue to get your way. Choose which battles to fight and which to decline. If it's possible, and appropriate, negotiate.

Matt Somers - Matt Somers Coaching






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