I don't want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their job.
—Samuel Goldwyn, Movie Producer
Moving your boss without getting fired—or receiving as a boss powerful messages helpful in achieving your goals—are the aims of this chapter. Could being more effective with your boss grant you more latitude, more support, or more challenging assignments? Or would you like to influence something about your boss's management style, such as more effective ways of dealing with higher-ups? The challenge is to gain influence with your boss in ways that build your relationship rather than threaten it. Too many managers and leaders are not very good bosses, and those who are good could be even better.
As the person with less formal power, be careful not to give away your power unnecessarily, so you can be fully effective. One temptation is heroic thinking about leadership, succumbing to the assumption that leaders have all the responsibility and control, so you only need to deliver what is formally assigned to you and “delegate upwards” everything else, without taking initiative to accomplish unit goals. A related temptation is expecting perfect problem solving from the boss and becoming judgmental when that's not the case.1
Your boss's effectiveness is part of your job. It starts with you. This is a fundamental ...