Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to Coach Your Boss

How to Coach Your Boss

At the core of every toxic working environment is the toxic boss, manager or supervisor that breeds it. All roads go back to the manager. And if the manager isn't willing to change, then it's a safe bet that nothing will.

That's why to impact long lasting change; managers need to upgrade their style and approach to managing their people. The toxic boss is still alive and thriving. Sure, no breakthrough news here but what if you, as the recipient of this type of management style, could actually do something about it?

Knowing the type of boss you have, their limitations, their management style, their priorities, what drives them and how they communicate, helps you determine exactly where you stand, and what you can expect from them. After all, if you're looking for more individualized attention, support and training it may not be realistic to expect that from your current boss or even possible for that boss to provide you the support and training you need. And if that's the case, at least you now have the evidence to make a more educated and informed decision regarding whether or not to stay in your current position.

So, what can you do to turn around your boss's style of managing and how they communicate with you? Here's a twist. Start by coaching and supporting them using these three simple steps.

First: Coach Up. What can you to do support your boss? Most are used to their employees coming to them with problems and complaints. It's an interesting reaction you get when you approach them with, "Hi Mary. Listen I know how much we're all under the same pressure to produce and for you I can only imaging that it's even more intense. So, I just wanted to ask you what I might be able to do for you to possibly take some of that burden off, or if there's anything you see in my production or performance that I could be doing better which in turn we'd all win."

Next: Create the Opportunity to Discuss Expectations: The law of reciprocity applies. After you've determined how you can make his life a little easier, eventually, your manager can ask what he can do for you, which is your opportunity to ask if you can discuss the management style that you best respond to and how you want to be managed.

Finally: Set Your Boundaries: Bosses don’t know boundaries. Like it or not, through many managers eyes, their #1 responsibility is to run the company, not worry about your feelings. So stand up for yourself and establish your role, but always give 100%. While most of the time not premeditated, people, especially your boss will continually test you, over and over again, in the sense of what they can and cannot get away with when it comes to making requests and demands of you and how they can treat you. While a large percentage of people might initially be scared or intimidated to say something to their boss, in fear of some type of consequence or fallout, most of the time, managers are clueless about how they treat people and often don't even know they're doing it! Don't be surprised when you drop off this article on their desk, and they in turn, thank you for it. So, re-train all the people around you, including your boss, how they can respond to you in a healthier, non-toxic way.

(About the author: Keith Rosen is the Executive Sales Coach™ that top salespeople and managers call first to develop a team of champion performers and boost their sales. A best selling author, Keith has written several books including the award winning Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions. Inc. magazine and Fast Company named Keith one of the five most influential executive coaches. He's been featured in Entrepreneur, Inc., Fortune,,, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Keith is a frequent guest correspondent on News 12 and has appeared on Fox Business )

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