Managing a manager above you is a unique project in anyone’s job. Is it possible? Yes, it is. Who does that? Hardly anyone. Mainly because they do not understand the dynamics of their position, or even how this is accomplished.
If a person wants to succeed in their position, and move up a ladder of responsibility in their career, knowing the boss is key. It is essential to understand where an immediate supervisor, editor, manager, foreman, or director of your department, places the most valueship of his/her job responsibilities.
Is managing a superior a reasonable goal? One important factor necessary is understanding your supervisor. Are they partial to a unique work style? For example; do they send emails, write post-it notes, or issue blanket statements concerning pressing problems? Or are they on the floor directing employees in a hands-on manner?
What are their daily goals? This of course depends greatly on the nature of the occupation. For example; a newspaper editor’s main goal is to post the most interesting stories online in a timely manner and keep those items updated as needed.
As a photographer, one must listen to a scanner constantly and be aware of important police issues at all times. Reporting to the editor what is occurring and allowing the editor to weigh the newsworthy value of two important events occurring at the same time is a key factor in “getting the shot”.
What is their greatest strength?
What is your boss’s greatest strength? If your manager is a newspaper editor what part of that position does he/she perform the best? Writing investigative stories, quick news flashes, or covering political events? Bring your attention to what they do best. As the photographer you then fill the role of taking the best pictures for them in their preferred area of expertise.
By catering to their strengths managing your boss changes from a struggle to an opportunity. It becomes a goal of understanding what gives them the most satisfaction in their job and thus providing the necessary input feeding their desire to succeed. When they succeed through your efforts you become an asset, and moves you up the ladder a notch.
Building a relationship
Managing your boss does not happen overnight. We are all human and some supervisors never reveal too much of themselves. This of course makes it difficult to understand them at all.
However, there are always clues. Careful listening while engaged with your superior can reveal what type of input they prefer. Do they doodle at their desk concerning the latest project while in a meeting? Do they chat with certain employees more than others? What is their preferred topic?
These items are clues as to what you can do to build a stronger relationship with your editor, foreman, or director of your department. Taking notes during or right after a meeting will build your repository of knowledge on how to construct a strong relationship.
At some point in this process you will see a pattern emerge. When this occurs you will be on your way acquiring the stepping stones you need for managing your manager.