Corporate Leader

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5 Essential Strategies for Managing Up

How To Manage Your Boss


By: Nancy C. Widmann, Dr. Elaine J. Eisenman, and Amy Dorn Kopelan



The game you once played on the school playground is now the game you play daily in the corporate jungle.

Remember tetherball? Thereís a tall metal pole planted firmly in the ground with a long cord attached at the top. At the other end of the cord the ball is tied. No matter how hard you hit the ball, which direction itís headed or how fast itís going, the ball remains attached to the pole. The same goes for your relationship with your boss Ė and you can guess which one of you is the pole and which one is the ball.

For as long as youíre in the game, youíre firmly attached to your boss, to his history, reputation, politics, choices, and to some extent his future. How closely you entwine yourself with your boss will affect your reputation and will have a major influence on what you can accomplish on the job and where your career goes.


There are five laws that you absolutely must follow if you have any hope of creating, maintaining, and managing any productive relationship with your boss:

Never outshine the master: Youíre making a big mistake if youíre outsmarting, outwitting, or outmaneuvering your boss. Always do your best, but do it in a way that complements your bossí strengths.

Make your boss look good: Engaging in a smart game of professional flattery positions you as a person who is not only ambitious, but also supports company objectives.

Exceed expectations: If your achievements make your boss look great, she wonít see you as a competitor but as an indispensable member of the team.

Bring solutions, not problems: The smartest way to succeed and get promoted is to be the person that your boss looks to first when there is something that needs to be done, managed, or fixed.

Protect your bossí back: First, keep confidential any professional or personal issues that might reflect negatively on your boss. Second, stand in for your boss without hesitation if he is ever unavailable Ė but be sure to give him credit. Finally, never use your position to trade information.





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