What can and should you do when you know what needs to be done to help your company succeed but office politics and incompetent management won’t let you do your job ? It happens in a lot more organizations than you would think and it can be really frustrating but there are ways to ensure that office politics and bad managers don’t stop you from doing what you need to do to not only do your job but to look good as well.
Here are some tips that I have learned through my years of experience in dealing with bad managers:
(1) Most Directors are going to play office politics if they want to get ahead. Accept it but learn what the politics is all about so you both stay clear and understand the boundaries between doing you job and pissing off your boss.
(2) At some time you’re going to have to make a decision as to whether to do what is best for the brand/organization versus making your boss happy. Pick and choose your battles carefully. Remember it maybe OK to loose a couple of small battles yet win the war.
(3) Don’t let your boss use you as the “bad cop” in disputes with other Director’s. You are the one who is going to take the hit not her/him.
(4) Don’t share everything you do with your boss. That just leads to more micromanagement and problems.
(5) If your boss’s direction is causing problems with others in the organization let them know that you are doing exactly what you have been instructed to do. This is especially true when your review is based on input from others within the organization.
(6) If your boss is causing you stress and problems you need to address the situation via a 1:1 meeting with an eMail follow up of key points.
(7) The worst boss is one that bends with the corporate wind and won’t stand behind you because to do would be politically incorrect. This is a bad situation that you need to correct ASAP by either leaving the company or looking for a new job within the company.
(8) HR people do not work for you they represent the company. Expect anything you tell HR to get back to your boss so be careful what you say and how you say it.
(9) Always keep a personal file with correspondence and personal notes about conversations with your manager. It will come in handy at review time when you get dinged for something that was because of your boss’s direction instead of yours.
(10) Give your manager feedback on how YOU like to managed. Say thank you when they do something that allows you succeed and ask them to help you understand why they did something you didn’t like but be prepared for a less than truthful response.
Managing up is an art not a science and it’s a shame but you have to be aware of the politics within the organization so you can be prepared for the mud that flows downhill.