At this stage in your development, you will have a good awareness
of your strengths and weaknesses; and so will your team. You will
have embarked on a plan of developing the strengths such that you
can deploy the range of managerial styles we have set out, and relate
to people in an emotionally mature manner.
Here we give some examples of complete leadership in action, taking
two of the most tricky situations executives face: managing their
boss, and dealing with collective negotiations.
How to manage your boss
Everyone has a boss. The boss is not always the leader.
These two counter-intuitive statements are worth bearing in mind
during this chapter; and indeed during your development as a
leader. The ﬁrst of these is not obvious, but merits some reﬂection.
Learning points from this chapter
◆ Everyone has a boss; how to manage the boss is part of
being a leader.
◆ Sometimes it’s better to show, rather than tell.
◆ A tactical silence can say much.
◆ Other people’s anger is their problem.
The CEO has investors; the investors have investors. The analysts
have bosses; board members can be sacked. Presidents and prime
ministers can be voted out. Everyone is in some way accountable,
and no one has the absolute guarantee of a job for life. There is
always someone looking at your performance and judging whether
it comes up to scratch. There is always someone with the authority
to tell you what to do, if only on occasion and under certain
Understanding and managing your boss provides you with a
pleasant work environment and you and the business become much
more effective. To do this, you need to gain a good understanding of
both your boss and yourself, especially with regard to management
styles, learning styles, strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to
clarify mutual expectations and agree how you are going to work
together effectively. Think about how your boss likes to receive
information or communication. Is it by e-mail, phone or voicemail?
Or only by face to face meetings? Don’t assume, just because you
don’t like receiving calls on your mobile phone while you’re on
holiday that your boss feels the same.
Terry, the MD of a large fast-moving consumer-goods business in
Europe and who is based in Paris, received feedback that his boss
John, based in Chicago, did not trust him. Terry rarely initiated any
form of communication with his boss, and was surprised to see
how, by sending John regular e-mails of updates on sales, their
relationship became transformed. As John felt he was no longer cut
out of important communication, he became more relaxed and did
not dig for detail in the manner that Terry had found irritating; and
was greatly appreciative of the updates he received. This he felt kept
him connected with the European business.
momentum complete leadership chapter nine
pages 160 /
Understanding and managing your boss provides you
with a pleasant work environment and you and the
business become much more effective.
Initially, try to understand the pressures on your boss, what his or
her organizational and personal goals are, and what he or she needs
from you. Be sensitive to his management style and how it is similar
or different to yours. Become aware of what it is about you that
might help or hinder the way you work with your boss. Then take
actions that make the relationship more effective. Avoid being either
overly dependent on or independent from your boss, and try to
foster collaborative interdependence.
And remember, you will always have a boss even if you are one. At
the most senior level our bosses are venture capitalists, bank
managers, investors, and even customers.
Managing the boss can be demanding, and is easily overlooked.
If neglected, though, we are storing up trouble. As we noted in
Chapter 2, it can be easy to forget that management is about
relationships and people. We think instead that it’s all about targets,
CORE QUESTIONS TO ASK
◆ How can I make my boss my partner?
◆ What does my boss need from me?
◆ What do I need from my boss?
◆ How can we both beneﬁt from this relationship?
WHAT A BOSS NEEDS FROM YOU
◆ Career enhancement