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Tips on managing multiple bosses

Well, maybe at some period in your career life, you will have two or more bosses to report to. Last year it happened to me, but yet, it proved to be an interesting experience.

Nowadays, it’s increasingly common for people to have more than one boss. For instance, you may be on two project teams, each with its own project manager and yet report directly to a manager in your functional area.

Having multiple bosses provides a lot of opportunities since your boss are among compulsory network in your career networking, but also poses certain challenges. On the positive side, you often have significant autonomy over how and when you complete your assignments. On the negative side, you may run into scheduling issues if each boss demands more time than you have available.

To mitigate the risks and make your job and your bosses’ jobs easier:

  • Know who your ultimate boss is. While you may take direction from several managers, usually only one is responsible for your career within the organization. Find out about who completes your performance reviews, who contributes to them, and who makes decisions about promotions and compensation.
  • Be proactive about your workload. Be sure all of your bosses know everything you’re working on. Use a shared document or regular check-in meetings with your managers to communicate about your current projects and tasks.
  • Encourage your bosses to communicate. If your bosses’ expectations create work overload or conflicting priorities, involve them in solving the problem. Schedule a time for them to communicate directly, whether in person or electronically.
  • Set boundaries. If constant interruptions regarding one project prevent you from accomplishing your work on others, set times when you can focus on specific tasks without distractions.
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Tips on managing long-distance boss

At times, especially in a multinational organization, you will experience a case of long distance relationship with your boss. Partnering with your boss when you are in separate locations presents a different set of challenges than when you are in the same building. When your main means of communication are electronic, whether email, phone, or video call it can be difficult for the two of you to stay aligned.

So, here are some tips for staying in step with a boss in a different location:

  • Be disciplined about holding regular meetings. Once you have created a meeting schedule, protect those times. Ensure that you and your boss don’t fall into the habit of postponing or canceling them.
  • Determine norms for communication. This includes which communication channels you and your boss will use and how you will use them. It also means having explicit agreements concerning response times for queries how quickly you should expect a reply from your boss and vice versa.
  • Establish clear and comprehensive metrics. By setting up ways to measure and report on the results of your activities, you ensure that your boss has a good sense of where things stand on your team.
  • Schedule periodic face-to-face meetings, if possible. This is especially important early in your relationship. In-person connections can go a long way toward establishing mutual trust.
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Why you need to manage your boss?

Managing your boss matters for three main reasons:

1. Your boss plays a pivotal role in your success or failure. You rely on them to provide you with:

  • Information and guidance on your assignments and on troubleshooting problems
  • Insight into the organization’s strategy, goals, and priorities: important perspectives that can help you make wise choices about how to spend your time and energy
  • Resources essential for carrying out your responsibilities: for example, personnel, funding, office space, and equipment
  • Access to professional development opportunities: including training and industry conferences

2. You play a pivotal role in your boss’s success or failure. They rely on your work and on the work of your team to meet individual and organizational goals. This is more of a ‘shared success’ concept, your success and your boss’s success are interrelated, managing your boss is about getting the best of each other.

3. Failure to manage your boss can have negative consequences for the broader organization:

  • If you and your boss don’t have a commitment to shared goals and objectives, bottom-line results may suffer.
  • Communication breakdowns between you and your boss can lead to frustration and confusion. That, in turn, can erode morale in your team.
  • Poor morale can make it hard for people to get work done and serve customers effectively.
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How to attract people to you

There’s a good chance that at least some people you’d like to initiate networking relationships with especially highly successful individuals or those far advanced in their careers have overly full calendars. Understandably, they might well ignore emails or other messages requesting “a few minutes of your time to pick your brain.”

So how can you stand out amid all that “networking noise”? Make yourself so interesting that they’ll seek you out. For example:

  • Be an expert. Genuine expertise attracts attention. If someone is drawn to a topic that you’re highly knowledgeable about even if it’s not in their field you might move to the top of their list in terms of people they seek out for interaction. To demonstrate your expertise in a particular subject area, you can create attention-getting content such as articles, podcasts, blogs, or comments on relevant websites.​ But also don’t be a parrot, make sure you know what you are talking about and be ready to admit when you don’t know.
  • Be an information forwarder. Look for opportunities to forward information an online article, video, blog post, tweet that you think would be intriguing or useful to prospective or current members of your networks. Forwarding shows them that you know what they’re interested in. And it demonstrates that you’re thinking of them, which could inspire them to seek you out. But any time you forward information, send it to individuals not lists. Mass forwarding cheapens the value of your communication and thus can work against you. But avoid over-sharing, by then you just spamming.

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Why Network?

The world is changing due to globalization of economy and marketplaces and due to the decreasing cost of internet of things. We live in a globalized economy, and organizations are operating across borders everywhere either physically or through an online presence. They’re also facing complex new opportunities and challenges, like how to succeed in unfamiliar markets and how to survive new competitors, and also on how to stay relevant.

To navigate this new landscape, organizations must tap into a wide array of expertise and knowledge from multiple sources that can be anywhere. They’re creating matrix-ed or flat reporting structures. They’re setting up cross-functional teams and virtual teams whose members work anywhere around the globe. And they’re collaborating in new ways with customers, suppliers even competitors.

How can you excel as a manager in this landscape? You have to build and sustain networks, networks are webs of mutually beneficial relationships with people in groups inside and outside your organization. And, simply put, networking is how work gets done in today’s complex world.

To create value for your organization, you have to exchange ideas, information, resources, and support with many different people not only in your organization, but also outside. You can do all of this only through networking.

When you build networks and use them wisely, you achieve important professional and personal goals. For instance, you can use your network strategically to spot trends affecting the business environment and identify new opportunities and challenges those trends present.

You can also use your networks operationally to accomplish the day-to-day work that supports your organization’s goals.

And finally, you can use your networks to foster your own professional and personal development; for instance, to find mentors who can help you grow.

There’s no doubt about it networking counts among a manager’s most vital skills. Master it and you’ll create unprecedented value for your organization, your team, and yourself.

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Help people cope with change

Change is a near constant and necessary in today’s workplace. If not managed well, it can erode people’s levels of engagement and commitment. Your job as leader is to help people stay motivated to achieve their goals while coping with the stress of change.

Some tension is unavoidable; in fact, a sense of urgency is necessary to accomplish things. However, people can’t or won’t learn new ways of doing things if they feel overwhelmed.

To keep your team on task:

  • Prioritize and sequence work. Identify immediate priorities and pace goals appropriately so team members don’t get swamped with tasks.
  • Offer protection. Shield the team from outside distractions and organizational politics. Use your influence to get your people the resources they need.
  • Model calmness and optimism. A leader needs to tolerate uncertainty and frustration.
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Internal Motivation

Researchers have found that internal motivation is an even more powerful driver of people’s behavior than previously thought. In today’s organizations, much of the work is not routine and requires focused attention and creative approaches. In this setting, creating the conditions for employees to exercise autonomy, pursue mastery, and have a sense of purpose is an important leadership skill.

Here’s how internal motivation works:


Skillful leaders do more than just address universal human needs and desires. They figure out what specifically inspires individual team members and then look for opportunities that fulfill those team members’ interests and passions.

If you know what inspires each of your team members, you can customize plans to keep people committed for the long term.

In summary, lead them as a group but treat them individually.

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Combine external and internal motivation

When we think about motivation, people tend to be motivated by a combination of external and internal factors.

External factors are things managers can directly control, like wages, bonuses, benefits package, titles, and special privileges. External factors also include intangibles, such as an emotionally safe work environment and necessary tools and resources.

But studies show that leaders can’t rely solely on bonuses or benefits for motivation. Not to mention that there are some studies which indicate that bonuses and performance incentive actually decrease work performance. They need to support their teams in deriving satisfaction and fulfillment from their work by addressing certain internal factors.

These include the desire for:

  • Autonomy—the ability to direct our own lives
  • Mastery—the ability to improve at something that matters
  • Purpose—the ability to work in service of a greater objective

When employees are able to meet their needs in these areas, they tend to be motivated, productive, and happy and able to contribute their best to your team and organization.

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Building Your character to earn and keep trust

Build your character

If you hold yourself to high moral standards, you’ll reap powerful benefits both in your career and in your personal life.

To both earn and keep others’ trust:

  • Be a role model. In order to be a role model you would have to work hard, protect company values, and make the same sacrifices you ask of others or simply lead  by example. There’s nothing more off-putting than those whom won’t walk the talk.
  • Respect the work. This would mean that you need to be prepared, care about quality, put forth your best effort, and commend others when they do the same.
  • Value individuals. Listen to others, protect people’s dignity, show appreciation, and consider your team’s interests when making difficult decisions.
  • Be emotionally steady. Manage your own emotions and be positive, resilient, and aware of your impact on others.
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Why trust is important?

People won’t follow you unless they trust you as a leader. Trust is the basis of all forms of influence other than coercion. Every culture relies on trust for effective relationships.

What does it mean to be trusted? It’s not the same as being liked, i like a lot of people but that does not meant i trust them. As a leader, it’s crucial that others trust you but they won’t necessarily like you. Inevitably, you will make difficult decisions that will anger or disappoint some people because it is virtually impossible to satisfy everybody at the same time.

Trust in leadership rests on two things: your competence to do your job and your character. When people trust you, they know they can depend on you to do the right thing even if it’s hard. And by doing the right thing at time will get you hated.