Business Coaching Leadership Personal growth

A note to middle-managers whose bosses aren’t leading well…

At least that’s how they would like to think. But before I dive any further, I would like to make it clear that I’m neither an expert in “managing-up the hierarchy” nor do I believe there’s such thing as “managing-up.” Why? Because it simply cannot be done. Period.

If that disappoints you, I’m sorry, you may leave this page. If you’re still reading, well, let’s explore the ways you and work with your boss to make things matter at the workplace. Let’s begin:

  1. If you don’t have a solid relationship with your boss, forget about changing anything! Instead invest time in building a solid yet genuine relationship. Remember that leadership is influence, nothing less and nothing more. And the only way you have influence over another person is by having a mutually trusting relationships with them.
  2. Your priority right from the get go should be to serve well and continually add value. There’s no way around this. You will have to prove yourself over and over again until you have the boss’ attention. Now, this may take a few weeks or even a few years. Just keep going until you get there.
  3. There will be times when your boss’ decision goes completely against your values or worse, you strongly feel it’s ethically or morally wrong. Obviously, you can’t afford to wait for him to take notice or build a relationship as that might be disastrous! Since doing nothing isn’t going to help anyone anyway, you do the right thing based on what’s right for your team. Be prepared to be challenged by your boss or the higher authorities — this is your chance to communicate your values and showcase leadership.

The above takes immense patience, faith, and courage to act upon. That’s why most people don’t do it despite how disturbed they are due to their boss’ decisions or demeanour. Most fail to understand that a healthy relationship with their bosses is the most effective way to influence change. Yet, most people don’t do it. They would rather spend their whole life in frustration or have someone cast a magical spell on their bosses than do what they can — get to know a fellow human being who happens to hold a higher rank.

Stop wasting time finding solutions. If you’re reading this sentence, you already know what to do. Suck it up and do the work. Like I said, there’s no way around this.