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I REALLY like this concept. At its core is the recognition that the employee-boss relationship is just that, a relationship. And, like every other relationship, it involves two imperfect people and relies on effective communication, a commitment to success and regular attention.

Some people successfully manage this relationship intuitively or with little instruction. If that is not your strong suit or you want to learn more about what might work for you and your boss, you can start with these resources:


Managing Your Boss (the original article)

Ten Rules to Managing Your Boss (an example of specifics from the original concept)

Here are a few factors to keep in mind (wherever you are in your career):

  • Though these articles focus on the private sector business environment, the concepts and approaches apply to all professional relationships, including in academia and for student employees.
  • You don’t have to try all of the recommended analyses or changes at the same time. Added together, small or incremental steps, especially when you are early in your career, can be effective.
  • You might try asking your boss how she prefers to be “managed” (perhaps using different language or specific examples). If you aren’t comfortable using that term or not skilled enough to facilitate this conversation, you might check with human resources staff in your organization. They may have tips for how to put these concepts and approaches into action in your situation. Your organization may also have helpful seminars or activities.
  • Some professional relationships may not improve, regardless of your efforts. After you have tried to make things better to no avail, it may be time to change jobs/positions.
  • When your boss has other employees, consider in advance how your approach to this might be perceived. While, your colleagues’ reactions should not necessarily deter you from successful strategies, you may also want or need to “manage” your colleagues to avoid/reduce tension or conflict and improve your chances of success.
  • Please remember that none of these concepts changes your position relative to your boss. The boss still has the power and authority of their position.
  • Understanding this concept may also help you to be a better boss!

As always, good luck!