Wouldn't it be great if we all only ever had great bosses? The painful reality is that all too often our bosses are not all they should, or could be. What do we do in this situation?

Before you even think about approaching your boss and letting them have it with both barrels of your  most 'constructive feedback', make an appointment to meet with yourself and interrogate your motives, your ego, your feelings and your performance. Start with these questions:

  • do I really want what is best for my company and my boss?
  • have I worked hard at seeing things from my bosses perspective?
  • do I have a history of conflict with my bosses, and if so, what might it be in me, in my history and my heart, that causes such conflict?
  • am I giving in to the tendency to see my boss as "all bad" and myself as "all good"? The reality is that no-one is either, ever!
  • is my attitude towards my boss the same attitude I would like those I manage to have towards me?

Now, having engaged in some healthy introspection, and given attention to those areas of yourself that could do with some improvement, you are now ready to think about some 'upward management'. Here are some things you can do to increase the chances of this working well:

  • deal directly with your boss - don't spend six months gossiping, whining and whinging behind their back
  • ask to make a time to speak to them, that works for them
  • be very clear about what practical behavioural changes you want from them. For example you might say, "to help me do my job effectively I need you to respond to my emails within 24 hours".
  • deal with one issue at a time
  • be prepared to negotiate, offer trades and compromises, and to ask for time to think about what they have said and come back to them
  • end every meeting by thanking them for listening to you and affirming your commitment to helping the company succeed

What do you think? Has this worked for you? Can I help in any way?