Seven tips on how to manage your boss in the New Year

James Nickerson
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You'll reap the rewards if you manage your boss well (Source: BBC)

The New Year is but days away, and for many that means a return to work. But with January around the corner, it may be time to shake things up at your job and improve your working life.

This could involve forming a better relationships with colleagues, and there is probably no more important working relationship than the one you have with your boss.

Read more: Bosses can benefit from the element of surprise

So we've come up with some tips, based on research from experts including the American Psychological Association and Harvard Business Review so that in 2016 you can manage your boss. Indeed, by "managing up" you will be able to make your job easier and more fulfilling.

1. Try to understand your boss

Though at times it may seem like your boss is from another planet, it's vital that you make this first effort (they are, in fact, human after all).

Try to understand the goals of your boss, their pressures, as well as their preferred work style.

It's also important to acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of your boss. If you can't understand where your boss is coming from, you don't really stand a chance in managing any sort of relationship.

Indeed, "to fail to make that relationship one of mutual respect and understanding [with your boss] is to miss a major factor in being effective", making your job harder, according to the Harvard Business Review.

2. Manage, don't reform

As mentioned, your boss, like anyone, has strengths and weaknesses. Don't try to remedy what you see as weaknesses, but instead attempt to build on one another's strengths.

Once you've identified what your boss is good at you can build a better working relationship.

3. Communication is key

As in any relationship, communication is the bedrock of success. Find a way to get your message across well, especially if it's a touchy subject.

You certainly don't want to be antagonistic, and given we're all unique, it's important to understand which method of communication is most appropriate for each particular boss.

Try to create an atmosphere of problem resolution and foster mutual expectations, allowing you to focus on what can be done better, says the American Psychological Association. It's no secret people tend to respond better to positivity over negativity, and providing solutions instead of complaints will often put you in better stead.

4. Build your relationship

Don't be lazy on this one. By putting in a bit of time after work at the pub, over lunch or even just getting to know what makes your boss tick during work, you'll be in better shape to understand them and communicate effectively.

Read more: Are boring bosses the culprit behind the UK's productivity problem?

This will also let them understand you a bit more and the pressures you are under. Plus, you never know, you might even enjoy that couple of pints on a Friday.

5. Pick your battles

As it happens, your boss will ultimately make most decisions, not you (shock). You may not be happy with every choice, but it's vital to focus on what really matters.

Be prudent in deciding when the right time is to challenge a decision, and let the smaller stuff fizzle away.

Be that as it may, it's good to give your opinion and show you have ideas. Advise but then obey is a good motto here.

6. Do what you said you'll do

Always deliver and do your best to keep your promises. If you tell your boss you're going to get something done, then do it. They are far more likely to give you more responsibility and macro-manage if they can see you don't need babysitting.

That said, don't give them any surprises; don't wait until the last minute to give bad news. Like a needy partner, frequent updates are probably the best way to avoid any potential problem.

7. Celebrate

If you've had a success, be sure to acknowledge it, but also be sure to acknowledge when your boss or wider team has done well.

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