The Importance of Managing your bosses

February 23, 2012

We teach our children to try and try and never, ever give up. We teach them to be courteous, to be full of wonder, to expect hard work to pay off, and to search for literal and figurative greatness in everything they choose to do.

But some day, when our kids grow up, we might also consider doing them an invaluable favor by teaching them how to manage their bosses. Why? After working with the most inventive people in the world for what I can only describe as too long, I discovered the value of managing bosses is probably one of the most important life skills to cultivate.

Most of us have a natural aversion to managing our bosses – we don’t mind managing ourselves, others and even teams. But when it comes to managing our bosses, most people consider it beneath them and for some reason synonomous with apple polishing or simply playing the role of the ‘yes’ man to get ahead. I don’t deny those skills may be part of the genre of managing your bosses. But I am referring to a very specific skill where you manage your bosses to make sure you are always one step ahead.

Why is there a need to stay one step ahead? Simple, all bosses are users. If they don’t know how to use and manipulate people, then they are probably not very successful bosses. Don’t believe me? Show of hands time: How many of you out there have been on the receiving end of “what took you so long?” – “I need this by tomorrow!” I can go on and on, but if you really take the trouble to think about it, there could really be far more serious issues.

For example. I used to know a friend who worked everyday till nine. And sometimes on weekends, he even had the bad habit of taking his work back home. One day I asked this man why did he subject himself to this sort of grief? Was it worth it? He replied, it will just be for a short while. Well as it turned out, he has been working till nine every work day for the last ten years! Another friend seems to perpetually shuttling from one place to another. He is never in Singapore. And even when he is with his family, he never ever seems to be get off the work train. Again I asked, “why do you seem to be travelling so much?” Again the familiar reply, “it will just be for a short while.” Well, the last time I checked, he was either catching some shut eye on a plane or hacking away on his computer in some terminal somewhere in the anywhereland.

This is where we should press the “pause” button and ask ourselves, how did it go so wrong for these people? The short answer is they never saw the wisdom of managing their bosses.

Managing your bosses can mean many things to many people. Some like to come up with ten bullet points. My method is far more simpler – what I do is work very hard to make sure my bosses weaknesses are my strenghts. If for example, he or she doesn’t have an eye for detail – then I will read the reports and red flag those areas that I know he or she hasn’t really picked up on – if he or she is weak in number, then I will probably spend a lot of time going through the excel spreadsheet with a fine toothcomb. The goal is NEVER to replicate the strenghts of your bosses and ONLY work to shore up his or her weak points – if you become a facsimile of your boss, then it’s only a matter of time before you will find a pink slip in your inbox. By positioning yourself strategically where you are able to add value to your bosses by augmenting his or her weaknesses – it’s really only a matter of time before your position will shift gradually from co- worker to counsellari (valued advisor and unofficial mentor).

One word of warning, don’t make it too obvious, let him or her do all the work – make it hard for him or her to even get close and personal with you – but once you find yourself in the inner circle quickly create a daily habit of spending at least half an hour everyday going through the main to do list with your bosses – as time passes your bossea will find you indispensable and that is really the moment when you can ask for anything and it will never be refused. Never.

Need I say…just make sure your bosses NEVER read the Brotherhood Press! You’re good to go!

Darkness 2012

“Let me be crystal clear. In two years time, I want to leave this place. But before I do so, I think it you should be the new VP and not fuck face. So my mission for this two years is to make you look good and make him look bad. Now in exchange for this. All I want to do is go back after putting in 8 hours of work. I don’t want to spend one extra minute here. You see I have a lot of studying to do as I want to be a businessman one day.”

“That’s new, what are you planning to do?”

“First, I want to make my money by buying firms that go bust and then break them up and sell them for a profit. That should get me the dosh. Then I want to buy land and be a farmer.”

“What if I say you can’t go back after five?”

“Then what I will have to do is take over your job.”

“Tell me you’re kidding me?”

“Of course, I am.”

(8 years ago in a factory somewhere in Boon Lay – The Brotherhood Press 2012)

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