Friday, January 4th, 2013

Are You Managing Your Boss?

If you are working as part of a team inside a CPA firm, I wonder if you are skilled at managing your boss?

There has been a lot written about this topic lately and I agree that it is just as important to manage upwards as it is to manage downwards.

See what your think of this quote from a classic article from HBR:

“To many people, the phrase ‘managing your boss’ may sound unusual or suspicious. Because of the traditional top-down emphasis in most organizations, it is not obvious why you need to manage relationships upward – unless, of course, you would do so for personal or political reasons. But we are not referring to political maneuvering or to apple polishing. We are using the term to mean the process of consciously working with your superior to obtain the best possible results for you, your boss, and the company.”        – – John J. Gabarro & John P. Kotter, “Best of HBR 1980: Managing Your Boss” – Harvard Business Review, January 2005

I often talk about the need for better communication inside CPA firms. But, it is not always about downward communication. In most organizations communication goes in many directions – up, down and sideways!

While I believe partners and managers could certainly improve in the communication area, I also think it is important for the employee to take responsibility for learning how to communicate effectively with their boss.

I learned this very early on in my carrer inside a CPA firm – – different bosses (partners) like communication in different ways. Different partners respond in different ways to certain actions you take and even to certain verbal comments you make.

Investing the time in learning how to “manage upwards” would be a good career exercise.

  • "The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate you away from those who are still undecided."
  • Casey Stengel

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