Managing the Boss

Fortunately, most admins have strong partnerships with their managers or see ways to build that bond. But some admins are still struggling through their relationships with lousy bosses. Is the solution to quit? Not with unemployment rates above 10%. Here’s another option: Negotiate with your boss, the way the FBI negotiates during a hostage situation.
It’s 4:30 p.m., and one of your bosses has finally given you the documents you expected to receive that morning—the documents you need in order to wrap up a task by the 5:30 p.m. deadline. This is your biggest pet peeve—receiving things late (and without warning), but being expected to complete the task on time. What to do?
When you’re thrust into working environments, you deal with all sorts of people on a daily basis. If you don’t get along with some of them, the hours can drag on. If these people are your bosses, the days can seem like torture. Here’s how to manage your manager.
Question: “I have a new boss and she is so disorganized. She has piles and piles of papers and complains that she can never find anything. How do I get her to organize her desk?”
When a control-freak boss monitors your every move, you and your co-workers may be tempted to rebel. Instead, don’t let your annoyance show. “Getting visibly irritated when he leans on you will only make him think he needs to keep an even closer eye on you,” says Albert J. Bernstein, a clinical psychologist and author of Am I The Only Sane One Working Here? Here are more strategies:
The fringe benefit of making your boss look good? You look good. Make these two proactive habits part of your repertoire: 1. Prototype your work. 2. Deliver bad news early.
Question: “I work for a manager who thinks I can read her mind. She rushes up to my desk and says something like, ‘Did he come pick it up?’ Because I have no idea what she’s talking about, I ask what she means. Then she looks at me like I’m an idiot for not understanding. This happens all the time, and I’m starting to get really irritated. How do I deal with her weird communication pattern?”
Tell a lie about a co-worker? Never. But there are times your boss doesn’t need to know everything, says Nicole Williams, author of Girl on Top. Here are five things your boss doesn’t need to know about you.
Reduce the odds that a conversation will bog down when people take things too personally by avoiding statements that begin with “you.” … Learn how you can add more value at the office by conducting your own “listening tour.”… Stay current on technology by signing up for free e-newsletters. …
Whether you call your boss’s work style “creative” or “chaotic,” when your higher-up is full of ideas, it seems impossible to follow through on everything. You can help an idea person by putting structure into your conversations with him, says Alaina Love of Purpose Linked Consulting.
Though work mates care about you, they pay more attention to messages that show there’s something in it for them, says Susan Mason, a principal of Vital Visions Consultants. So, for example, if you want something from your boss—whether it’s approval on a new printer purchase or a more flexible schedule—figure out what benefit she will realize. Figure out “What’s In It For Me?” from her perspective.
When a secretary posted a question on our Admin Pro Forum recently, she heard plenty of advice from admins who have trouble getting supervisors to adhere to deadlines. Here’s a sampling of their “been-there-done-that” advice:
Catch a second wind by tackling a task on your “Mind Like Mush” list … Is your boss an ‘allergic-to-details’ type? Keep project files handy that contain details he or she is likely to need … Find travel deals by booking later … Spruce up your administrative “portfolio” by adding a dash of visual material.