A Lesson from Drucker Replayed: Managing your boss

by Michael Haberman on September 19, 2018 · 0 comments


A management lesson from Peter Drucker.

This post is from the Archive, but I thought it important enough to replay. I get emails and have seen many comments from people about “my boss this… or my boss that…” Well here is a method you can use to help you get away from “things happening to you” and put some element of control in your work life, and for that matter your personal life as well. It won’t be easy.

Everyone has a boss. Many of us have several. Often we would like to have better ones, but if you can’t trade in the boss you can attempt to make the ones you have better. How do you do that? Peter Drucker has some guidance for that process.

The boss list

He said the first step in managing your bosses is to make a list of everyone to whom you are accountable. This list will include everyone who appraises your work and everyone on whom you depend to make your work effective.

The second step in the process it to go to each of these people and ask the question “What do I do that helps you do your job?” Then ask “What do I do that hampers you and makes life more difficult for you?”

The goal

The goal of this process is to enable each of those bosses to “perform as unique individuals according to their working styles.” You want to make each of them feel comfortable that you are “playing to their strengths and safeguarding them from their limitations and weaknesses.” In other words, the best way for you to look good is to make them look good.

This may take some guts for many of you. It will hinge on the relationship you have with your boss. But if you can’t do this then it is an indication this relationship needs to be worked on.


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