Managing Multiple Bosses

by Amy Gallo

The movie Office Space, a comedy about work life in a typical 1990s software company, details the saga of Peter Gibbons—a man with eight different bosses. All of them, seemingly unaware of each other, pass by his desk and tell him what to do. Although the film is most certainly a satire, for some, it’s not far from the truth. Many of us report to more than one boss, so learning to handle multiple managers is essential.

What the Experts Say

“As you go to a matrixed structure, you can easily have between one and seven immediate supervisors,” says Robert Sutton, the author of Good Boss, Bad Boss. Adam Grant, coauthor of the Harvard Business Review article “The Hidden Advantages of Quiet Bosses,” concurs. “As ...

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