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How to Manage Up


Want to be happy at work? Learn how to manage your manager. To do that, of course, the first thing you’ll have to figure out is when he or she will be most likely to listen to you, especially outside of your regular meetings.

This is trickier than it might sound. Most bosses aren’t going to tell you, flat out, that they prefer to have impromptu discussions first thing in the morning, or only over lunch, or on every second Tuesday of the month between four and five. Sharlyn Lauby of HR Bartender makes the revolutionary suggestion of … asking:

“If you’re trying to figure out how to manage your boss — ask them! Next time you have an idea: ‘When is a good time to discuss with you an idea I have?’ After you discuss the idea: ‘Let me know if this is a good way to bring ideas to you in the future.'”

Be prepared, however, to get an answer that you don’t want to hear. Lauby, for example, once had a boss who was only available during her drive home. Which might not necessarily be convenient, if, say, you have a different schedule than your manager or like to leave work at work.

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Others might prefer to communicate with you in writing rather than in person — tricky business if you’re better in person or on the phone than over email.

Still, asking ahead of time will accomplish two things: it’ll get you your manager’s ear when he or she is actually able to hear you, and it’ll show that you’re flexible and willing to accommodate the needs of others.

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! When is your boss best able to hear you? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #MakeItHappen.

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(Photo Credit: Victor1558/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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