It's Okay to Manage Your Boss

Working (for) the Man!

We're always happy at New Haven Review when one of our own takes to the printed page and places his or her authorial stamp upon something that a publisher has enough confidence in to put some financial muscle behind it. Such is the case for business writer and management consultant Bruce Tulgan, who has served as a trustee and guiding spirit to the New Haven Review since its founding. Bruce is the author of Managing Generation X (2000), Winning the Talent Wars (2002), It's Okay to Be the Boss (2007), and Not Everyone Gets a Trophy (2009). If it was okay to be the boss and not everyone got a trophy, apparently it is also okay to manage your boss: the argument Bruce makes in his latest work It's Okay to Manage Your Boss: The Step-by-Step Program for Making the Best of Your Most Important Relationship at Work (Jossey-Bass, 2010). The subtitle says it all, but just in case that wasn't enough, let's let the publicists in and do their share:

If you are like most employees, you answer to multiple bosses -- some directly, and others indirectly. You are often pulled in different directions by these competing authority figures with competing interests and agendas. All of them have the ability to improve or worsen your daily work conditions, your chances of getting rewards, and your long term career prospects. And all of them are different.

Under these circumstances, you are the only one you can control. You can control your role and conduct in each of these relationships. You can control how you manage and how you get what you need from these relationships. You have no choice: If you want to survive, succeed, and prosper, you have to get really good at managing your bosses.

Why? The boss—at every level—is the most important person in the workplace today. On this there is widespread consensus: Study after study show that the relationship employees have with their bosses is the number one factor in the ability of employees to produce high quality work consistently, to feel good about work, to earn credit and flexible work conditions and greater rewards.

If you are looking for guidance on how to manage your boss, there are zillions of so-called experts out there who will be happy to provide it. The problem is that so much of the advice about "managing up" or "managing your boss" out there doesn't tell the whole story. This book is written for people who want to be high-performers. In order to be a high performer in today's workplace, you need to create high-engaged relationships with every boss - whether that boss is great, awful, or somewhere in between.

I've read several of Bruce's books and they're always good fun if solid business advice is what you're looking for. Since I've worked for nearly two decades in publishing—many of those years in fact in the corporate business settings Bruce describes—the advice is well placed, based as it is on hundreds (if not thousands) of interviews Bruce has held with corporate employers and employees trying to manage those seemingly indefinable human elements in the business relationship. Congratulations, Bruce!

—Bennett Lovett-Graff, Publisher, New Haven Review