There are a number of things a person should to be a good manager, and your boss probably knows them. Unfortunately, they may not do these things, leaving employees struggling and the company not getting the benefit of what people like you have to offer. Jack Otter, writing for Men’s Fitness, recently tried flipping some best management practices on their heads and realized they offered some pretty perfect strategies for an employee trying to be great in spite of a lackluster manager.
The original management-centric rules come from Jeffrey Pfeffer, of Stanford Business School.
Always Look at the Bigger Picture
Original management rule: “Don’t select new employees on the basis of skills that can be learned relatively quickly; use qualities that are important and more permanent in your hiring decisions.”
Employee strategy: After you’ve fulfilled your job responsibilities, consider expanding your view. Think about opportunities and issues facing your team, boss, company, and industry with an eye out for new ideas and solutions. Once you get used to thinking that way, you’ll be able to help resolve problems before others even realize they exist.
Make Every Decision You Can Yourself
Original management rule: “Decentralize decision-making and assign it to self-managing teams.”
Employee Strategy: If your boss wants to micromanage and refuses to distribute decision-making power, see if there’s something on his or her plate you can diplomatically take charge of to make your boss look good and their day easier. It’s likely your boss will still take credit but will begin to see you as an ally capable of more and more projects. Credit, and maybe advancement, will follow.
Take Advantage of Areas Where You’re Smarter Than Your Boss
Original management rule: “Share information: Engage in open-book management, because employees need data to make decisions.”
Employee Strategy: You live on the Internet. If your boss isn’t sharing info with you, you can probably learn more than they know anyway thanks to your mad Googling (Binging?) skills. The data you gather can help you make smart decisions. Document it in PowerPoint or a spreadsheet to explain to others, including your boss, how you arrived at your conclusions.
Always Be Ready to Do Things Differently
Original management rule: “Don’t answer ‘Why?’ with: ‘Because that’s the way it’s always been done.’”
Employee Strategy:Be on the lookout for time-honored procedures and systems that are no longer cutting it, and make sound proposals for better ways to do them. You’re probably not the only person sick of being held back. Others may even get excited about changes you propose.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to do good work, grow, and succeed, and if you’ve got a good boss, you’re probably on your way. But if not, here you go.