How To Manage your Boss


       How to manage with your boss?

                                                                                                 Dr Ashutosh Karnatak

The other name for life is relationship i.e. relationship of one person with others. Besides other factors, the success in life, to a very large extent, depends on building right relationships with right people and strengthening it by using mortar of trust and care. Almost all the relationships are important, be it husband-wife, father-son, mother-daughter, mother-in-law and daughter–in–law, master-servant and so on. These associations are a part of his personal domain. However, a person’s professional sphere of influence is vastly different. In my view, there are 3 S in a person’s life that are of the utmost importance to him and they are Self, Spouse and Superior. I have not included mother-child relationship purposely as one doesn’t need to develop the skills for its nurturance. It’s innate and inborn. If we can develop the skills to manage healthy relationship with aforementioned Ss, then this journey called life becomes more enjoyable. Most of the time during from 21st year to 60th year depends on relationship between Boss & You and Boss at Home & You .If any of the both is not working properly, the status of life can be well understood.

 Here, we will consider the 3rd S in this article. Amongst all the relationships for a working person, there exists a relationship which is perhaps more important than any other and that is Boss-Subordinate relationship. It is the superior-subordinate relationship that can make or break a person’s career. It does affect the day-to-day behaviour of an individual. This relationship needs to be cultivated and grown to a point where both of them become complementary to each other. The actions of a person reflect his relation with his boss and conversely the relationship determines his course of action. If the relation with boss is cordial, the outlook of a person shall be on positive side. In case of conflicting situation, his mental state may be precarious. So, boss has a place of great consequence in our lives. Boss is akin to God - both are the architect of one’s destiny. While the boss does it on earth, The God writes your destiny in heaven. Follow the age-old mantra when it comes to your boss – ‘Your Wish, my command’. Therefore proper relationship with boss is required to be established. Let us analyze some of the factors that may be understood to make this relationship a pleasant one.  

 1)     Meaning of BossFirst of all, one must understand the meaning of ‘Boss’. He is the person who implements the policies of management, and therefore gives instructions, assesses your performance and recommends your case for promotions etc. Your boss may be less qualified than you but still he is your boss. He may be giving deaf ear to your opinion but still he is your boss. He may not be smarter than you but again he still is your boss. He is your boss because he has the authority.Generally we confuse boss with the name of the person. In fact one person has a perception about the other and his respect and his behaviour towards him is shaped by that but the boss is different. He is just not another person. It is the chair, not the person, which is to be respected as part of the system. This distinct concept of boss needs to be understood. One who understands finds it easier to deal with his boss. It should always be kept in mind that boss is always superior to you. The behaviour of the boss is the product of the interplay of 2 powers that he possesses – the power of his psyche and the power of his chair or position. 

2)     Requirements of Boss The strong correlation between success in professional life and a cordial boss-subordinate relationship can never be understated. The process of beginning and nurturing a healthy relationship is nothing but human element of life. First of all, try to understand the requirements of the boss. It shall not be imprudent if you discuss your boss’s requirements at the start of the work. This exercise should be a continuous one. Whenever you find problem in adjustment for a long time, you can have a dialogue. If you feel that his requirements are in contradiction to your style of working, then try to convince him for some adjustments and if it is not possible to synchronize the both, then better accept it positively rather than having two minds about it. It should always be kept in mind that, he is also accountable to the hierarchy above him and you are answerable to him only. For a successful career one can’t have or shouldn’t have confronting attitude with his boss. Some of the readers may argue that how to tolerate such an individual who misbehaves with them, and is not as per one’s expectations. The answer may be that if one is not tactful enough to transfer himself to other department, then it is always better to have tie-up with his boss only.

  3)     Time Consciousness Develop a consciousness for completion of work within stipulated time allotted by the boss. Boss may be any type but, internally he likes those who complete the work in time as it alleviates the tension of boss. In order to do the same, prioritize the work and do the work of priority 'A', whereas others works can be delegated. However, efforts are to be made to complete the work in time. For a long-term job, progress of the work should be intimated on regular basis. This quality is definitely going to upgrade your image in boss’s eyes. 

 4)     Information Flow Every boss has got his own style of functioning. This style needs to be judged by you for formulation of strategy of information flow to boss. It has been experienced that some bosses choose to listen to only positive aspects, while other type requires all sort of information. It is always better to inform all the important issues in a structured form to your boss to make him aware of the circumstances. Please take a note that criticism of an individual should be avoided as far as possible as you may not earn any point out of it. However, if it is causing problem in running of the system, it should be discussed in a positive manner. Also new ideas and proposals should be raised before boss at an opportune time.

 5)     Discipline Discipline and rules must be followed in order to have better image in front of the boss. Boss may afford to come late, you cannot. It has been experienced that the subordinate starts equating himself with the boss in many respects. It is always better to know your own limits i.e. your sphere of authority and responsibility, and try to confine yourself within the same.

 6)     Problem After doing all your duties, should you find any difficulty with your boss, take appointment for discussion with him - preferably in the morning hours (Generally morning hours are conducive for discussion, as mind is fresh). Before going to him, list out all the points for the discussion, and try to put your points tactfully after giving due regards to his point of view. Maintain a positive frame of mind during discussions.  Discussions may or may not be fruitful. Never forget that he is decision-maker at that time and you are at receiving end to honour his decisions. But some times, bosses are reluctant to listen to anything and you get frustrated. In this condition, it is better to accept the situation as it is. But pursue your point of view in such a way that it does not affect your interest adversely. It may always be kept in mind that you have hardly any control over behaviour of others, whereas you can exercise control over yourself. 

7)     FelicitationAn effective subordinate knows the dates of birth, anniversary etc. of his boss, and felicitate him on that particular day through greeting cards or telephones etc. It costs hardly anything but it serves a long way. If at all it does not pay any dividend, let it be mark of respect to the elders. 

 8)     Some Practical Professional tips

  • Good sub-ordinate should not be a threat to the position of his boss, and sub-ordinate is supposed to display it both verbally or non-verbally
  • Most of the bosses do like that work should be done as per their requirements and conditions.
  • Consult your boss frequently particularly on issues, which are related to his area of strength.
  • If boss asks to show him the letter/note before sending, then leave some minor mistakes deliberately for his correction. It would boost his ego as a boss.
  • Boss always wants major decisions should be consulted with/ informed to him before implementation.
  • Admire your boss whenever necessary particularly his areas of strength.
  • Reprimand from the Boss should not result in grudges, as it may be for improvement of sub-ordinates. He may be trying to get fullest out of you under the stressed conditions.
  • Bosses unfavourable behaviour towards you not always to be taken seriously as sometimes it is feign: just to get the work. You have to be discerning enough to know when your boss is annoyed with your work and when with you as a person. The former pertains with your professional ability and can always be improved upon but the latter relates to your personality traits that are very difficult to change. Ultimately it is combination of your performance, perception and your obligations to him/her at the hour of need.
  • Nobody wants problems and so are the bosses. Bosses always want that only important decision, as far as possible, is to be taken by them.
  • Identify patience area of your boss: Maintain calm in that situation.
  • One must identify the area where s/he can complement his boss.
  • Precautions are required to be taken when your friend becomes boss.

 9)     In case you are not aligned with BossSome may face this situation and after long adjustments they are not able to align themselves with the boss. In this case, the situation needs to be reported to senior to get yourselves transferred to other department. It is the ultimate solution when all other options have been exhausted and you have left no stone unturned to improve the situation.  Ultimately, you can think of it in this way that ‘The Biggest Boss’ i.e. The Boss of all has destiny for your life that prevails over everything else.   

10)Action: As explained above that Boss- Subordinate relationship is very important for service people. Thus based on the above strategy, try to improve upon the same and be successful. 


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