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Do you have a boss? Have you ever thought of managing him? No? Then do so… you will be the winner!

Here are a few Dos and Don’ts…


1. Make the boss as effective and as achieving as possible. Remember, if your boss goes places, you go places too. Ask you boss upfront, “What do I do and what do my people do that helps you do your job? And what do we do that hampers you and makes life more difficult for you?”

2. Remember your boss is a human being and an individual; no two persons work alike, perform alike, or behave alike. Instead of trying to change your boss, enable him to perform as a unique individual. Think through questions such as: Does this individual who is my boss want me to come in once every month – but no more often – and spend 30 minutes presenting the performance, the plans, and the problems of my department? Or does this individual want me to come in every time there is anything to report or to discuss, every time there is the slightest change, every time we make a move? Does this individual want me to send the stuff in as a written report, in a nice folder, complete with tabs and a table of contents? Or does this individual want an oral presentation? Is this individual, in other words, a reader or a listener? And does this boss require (as do for instance most financial executives) 30 pages of figures with everything as his security blanket – and should it be tables or graphics? Does this individual need the information to be there when he gets to the office in the morning, or does this boss (as do a good many operating people) want it at the end of the day, say around 3:30 on Friday afternoon?

3. What are your boss’s strengths? And his limitations and weaknesses? Support him in his weak areas to the extent that they appear irrelevant and emphasize on his strengths. Build your boss’s trust in you. He should be sure that you will play to his strengths and safeguard his limitations and weaknesses.

4. Make sure the boss understands what can be expected of you, what the objectives and goals are on which your own energies and those of your people will be concentrated, what your priorities are, and, equally important, what they are not. Remember, you boss, after all, is going to be held responsible by his bosses for your performance.


1. Never expose the boss to surprises. It is the job of the subordinate to protect the boss against surprises – even pleasant ones. To be exposed to a surprise in the organization one is responsible for is humiliation, and usually public humiliation.

2. Never underrate the boss! The boss may look illiterate; he may look stupid – and looks are not always deceptive! But there is no risk at all in overrating a boss. The worst that can happen is for the boss to feel flattered. But if you underrate the boss he will make sure that your growth in the organization is hampered and, in an extreme case, he may ensure that you are out.