SE V: How Do You Manage Your Boss?


I have a good friend who recently started working for a small but successful business where the owner is very involved in the detailed decisions.  My friend is struggling with adapting to the differences between the large company she left and the small ‘family run’ business she joined.  One of the things we talked about was how to “manage her boss”.   I know that sounds backwards, ‘managing your boss’ – but it’s essential, especially in a smaller business.

Here is some friendly advice I gave her on this topic:

  • The owner is your boss and has final say in whatever decisions they want to chime in on – regardless of what you think.  It is good to share your opinion, offer suggestions, and explain your reasoning, but at the end of the day, the final say is still theirs.
  • While you want to contribute and be valuable to your employer, you’ll want to do so in a cooperative manner.  If you contribute in a way that makes your boss feel left out or incapable, you’ll be doing more harm than good in the long run.  Ultimately, no one wants to keep someone around who makes them feel bad about themselves – regardless of your value.
  •  If there are disagreements, choose your battles wisely – pick the battles that you feel passionate about, protect the company, the employees, and the customers.  Fighting back about everything won’t ultimately build trust between you and your boss.

Going from large to small companies, or vice versa, is an adjustment on many levels, understanding your own reasons for making a change, and determining the scope of your role will help smooth the transition and help you learn to navigate the space you are in.

Please join the conversation…..

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