Maturity and Wisdom :
Whether you’re a Haverick who shuns bureaucracy or a judicious type who avoids controversy, how well you get along with your superiors can make or break your success. While most people know that managing up is important, they don’t always do it, perhaps because they struggle with the hierarchical nature of the relationship, or they just don’t realize that it merits their attention.
In “ The Subordiante’s Predicaments,” Eric H. Neilsen and Jan Gypen explore the tension inherited in the employee- boss relationship. They take a psychological approach to reducing what they describe as the subordinate’s need for self-protection. Among the dilemmas that must be resolved are initiative versus dependence and differentiation versus identification. You may find yourself leaning one way or the other in given circumstances but how well you maintain the balance hinges on the level of trust and the rapport you’ve built with your superiors.
It helps to recognize that the subordinate-boss relationship is one of mutual dependence. In the classic HBR article “Managing Your Boss,” John J. Gabarro and John P. Kotter don’t advise using flattery. Instead they point out that bosses need you as much as you need them. They value cooperation, reliability, and honesty while you want someone who can make connections for you, help set priorities, and get you resources. Managing this relationship means knowing your supervisor’s strengths, weakness, and work style – and figuring out how to mesh those with your own. Once you find the best way to communicate with your boss, you’ll be on your way.
No matter where you fall in your organization, but especially if you aim to reach senior-level management, heed Dan Ciampa’s advise in “Almost Ready: How Leaders Move Up.” Hiring managers look for leaders whose maturity and wisdom signal readiness for a top job. Bosses want grown-ups around them who can handle curve balls, conduct themselves with emotional intelligence, take the initiative to solve problems, and deliver results.
It’s easy to resent having yet another thing to manage, but if you truly want a positive connection with your boss, it’s you responsibility to cultivate it. More than likely, it will make your job easier in the long run.