Not the Owner or the CEO? That’s okay. You still have influence. Here’s a way to “lead up”. I hear a lot of employees saying they wish things were “done different”. Here’s a way to influence that difference. It’s not a quick and easy answer but there are some practical ways to influence.
1. Understand your boss
Ask yourself, what makes your boss tick at work? Is it control and predictability, or exciting ideas and new initiatives?
“First, you have to understand what’s important to your boss, what they care about, and what they wake up in the night worrying about,” said Cohen.
But you don’t have to go foraging through your boss’s trash to find clues to their psychological makeup. What your boss says and does will tell you all you need to know.
“Pay attention to the person you work for, because that person is telling you an awful lot about how to work with them,” Edwards told CNN.
2. Lead from the middle
You many not be the boss, but that doesn’t mean you can’t think like one.
John Baldoni is a leadership development consultant and author of “Lead your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up.” He told CNN he prefers the term “leading up” to managing up.
“Leading up means adopting the perspective of a CEO with the authority of a middle manager,” said Baldoni.
“Look for opportunities to effect positive change, grow the business, or get more out of the team. Think holistically about how your actions as a middle manager can affect the whole organization.”
3. Build credibility
You won’t be able to influence your manager unless you are credible, and the way to build credibility is by being good at your job, says Cohen.
Baldoni told CNN, “If you are someone who can get things done and your colleagues and bosses trust you, they will know you are a positive influence and they will come to you.”
4. It’s not about you
Managing up may be good for your career, but it’s not about brown nosing — it’s about doing what’s right for your organization.
“Some people think managing up is sucking up, but it’s not,” Edwards told CNN. “Yes, it ends up having a tremendous impact on your own PR, but you have to put other people first, and that’s something a lot of people don’t understand.”
Cohen agrees. “People listen more to what you’re saying if they think you actually care about them and are interested in their general welfare,” he said.
5. Take action
It’s not enough to just turn up for work and wait for your manager to lead. You need to be proactive in your relationship towards your manager, and your organization as a whole.
“Act upon what it is that needs to be done,” said Baldoni. “Initiate a new program, take a lead in product development, perhaps the reorganization of a business.
“Be front and center on an issue that will benefit not simply yourself, but the whole organization.”
6. Dealing with a difficult boss
Edwards says that dealing with a difficult boss is sometimes just a matter of communicating in a way they understand. Technical people respond to hard data, creative types prefer hearing about big ideas. But some bosses just won’t respond to leadership from below.