The Boss situation

To manage your boss, you have to know yourself:

In Chapter Ten we suggested that a look in the mirror is a good first step in dealing with difficult people, and the same holds for bosses—difficult or not. The plethora of books about bad bosses (see, for example, Graham Scott, 2005; Kellerman, 2004; Kets de Vries, 2003) tells you something: lots of people have worked for one—or thought they did. But it’s critical to know how much is you and how much is the boss. If your relationship with your boss is rocky, what’s your contribution to the strife? If you want more influence in negotiating with your boss, what can you do to increase your credibility? If you feel overwhelmed by a continuous stream of demands, like Jeffrey Hall, how are you responding to them? If you are frustrated by a boss who seems overwhelmed and reluctant to use the power of position, how do you react to the leadership vacuum? The answers to such questions are at the heart of an honest diagnosis of your situation.

That is an excerpt from Tomorrow’s Professor blog; interesting all through — parts of it reminded me of an advice from Yudhishtra in Mahabharata: that the king is like fire; if you are too close, you get burnt; if you are far off, you do not benefit; the wise thing to do is to find that optimum distance and maintain it. Here is the summary:

A seven step strategy can guide academic leaders in developing a more productive relationship with their bosses:
1. Know thyself.
2. Understand the boss.
3. Give the boss solutions, not problems.
4. Use the boss’s time wisely.
5. Avoid surprises.
6. Keep promises and deliver on commitments.
7. Speak up when necessary.

Take a look!

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