Thursday, August 07, 2008

Managing the Boss

A lot of folks think that being the boss is fun. Those people have obviously never been a boss.

When you're the boss, you're ultimately responsible for the success or failure of your enterprise. You can't say, "The man kept me from succeeding." You are the man (or woman as the case may be).

This means that when everyone is sleeping soundly at night, you're still worrying about all the problems no one else has figured out how to solve.

And therein lies the secret of managing the boss:

Whenever possible, figure out a solution *before* you bring your problems to the boss.

The boss is busy enough trying to do his or her job without being forced to do yours as well. Looking to the boss to solve your problems is lazy, and quite likely to spark thoughts like, "Hell, if they needs me to tell them how to do their jobs, why do we need 'em at all?"

If you bring your boss a recommended solution (or better yet, two possible courses of action), you make being the boss easy, which will make your job a lot more secure.

The converse advice is also true:

When you find a problem you can't solve yourself, bring it to the boss as *quickly* as possible.

Hey, if you could solve every problem on your own, you wouldn't need a boss at all. When you need help, ask for it. "I was trying not to bother you," is not a very effective excuse for losing $800 million.

If you prove to the boss that you can solve most problems on your own, and that whenever you do bring up an issue, it is important, then you've made yourself a reliable and valuable employee.

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