It is widely known that managing your boss effectively is crucial to achieving success in your career. But who exactly is your boss?
If you hold the position of CEO, your bosses are your Board members and, in the case of large publicly traded companies, significant institutional investors. If you are in a leadership role, you may have both solid line and dotted line reporting relationships.
But is this everyone? Likely not.
When was the last time you made a list of the leaders who have influence on your success? This includes the names that come to mind when you ask yourself the following questions:
1. Who are you accountable to?
2. Who provides feedback on your work and that of your team?
3. Whose approval and support do you need to flourish?
All these people can be considered your boss in some way.
To manage them effectively, it is your responsibility to first understand how your work and that of your team assist or hinder them in their roles. The best way to gather this information is by simply asking them.
Arrange a regular touch base meeting with each of these individuals, based on how frequently you interact with them (could be annually, semi-annually or quarterly). Ask them how you can best support them and what obstacles they see in the current working relationship. Seek clarification and details. Make commitments and follow through on them. Link and label your actions to prior feedback to demonstrate you're listening and responding. Then, request more feedback. Repeat the process.
In time, you will forge a respectful, mutually rewarding relationship with these bosses. Additionally, these leaders will become your champions. And getting to the top and staying there requires as many champions as you can get.