In his forthcoming book, The Boss Factor – 10 Lessons in Managing Up for Mutual Gain, Richard Boston states: “When I set out to write this book, I wanted to offer something practical, accessible and perhaps even inspiring to people at all levels who – in a world obsessed with leaders and leadership – have had precious little support when it comes to managing the relationship with those who lead them.”
His book is a response to a changing world of work which requires a new breed of workers who are entrepreneurial leaders rather than followers.
The key message of the book, which is out in January and is packed with interactive exercises and advice, is that employees need to take more responsibility for their work lives and career development by managing their managers – that means being able to put themselves in their manager’s shoes and understand the pressures their manager is facing.
That responsibility begins with having a clear vision, choosing the right manager for you and challenging your own set ideas about yourself and your work relationships.
Boston says having clarity of vision helps you to be clear with others and find others to support your vision and that the fact that you have a sense of purpose is a good reason for hiring you.
It also makes it easier for you to have a clear idea of the kind of leader you’re looking for, their mission, how the work environment supports them and how they will help you to thrive. “The idea that we can choose our leader is contentious for some,” says Boston. “However, what I’ve asked you to consider is the choices you have and the choices you make.”
Mutually beneficial relationships
Self awareness is also vital and Boston says you need to understand what your expectations are of your manager, how you behave with them and what wider impact this.
From understanding yourself, when you dodge responsibility and why your boss may be reluctant to give you responsibility sometimes, you will be able to see the bigger picture. As in any relationship, self awareness leads to better mutual understanding. By knowing yourself better and the ways you work, you will be better able to assess the responsibilities your manager has and what their role entails.
With a clear sense of what your manager and your team is trying to achieve, there is more team cohesion and more trust and the team is more productive, says Boston.
The book comes full circle at the end and looks at how you can use what you have learnt to encourage others to take responsibility and speaks of a need to have regular feedback conversations with your manager which it says are much more effective in the current work climate than outmoded appraisals.
We get the leaders we deserve, concludes Boston.
*The Boss Factor – 10 Lessons in Managing Up for Mutual Gain by Richard Boston is published in January and costs £14.99.