Monday, June 13, 2011

The key to managing your boss: Let her be the first to cry uncle

I had a great week last week. I was teaching a 4-day seminar and was interacting with some really great marketing minds. One question that came up in the end was what to do about a boss who is so paranoid when the marketing director works at home one day a week, the marketing director is required to meet with the boss her next day on site and go over everything she did at home.

My advice: suck it up and just do it.

Recently, Seth Godin said this a little more eloquently. He said that being irrational and being unreasonable are not the same thing. He said being right isn’t always the goal.

The reason I told the marketing director to just have the meeting is because there is nothing to be gained by not doing it. Is it annoying? Yes. Should the boss realize that the marketing director is doing her job because the work is done? Of course. Will arguing with the boss or getting mad at the boss make the boss say, “Oh, you are right. I’m being annoying and silly”?

However, meeting with the boss enthusiastically each week may actually help. An email the day before she works from home and a follow up email after she meets with the boss may help even more. If the ultimate goal is to get the boss to back off, the boss needs to trust you. And if it takes six months of meetings, just do it.

Let be the boss be the first to cry uncle.


Anonymous said...

Hadn't thought about it this way, but that works around here. We give input, say what we advise, and wait for the boss to come around based on what really happens.

KateNonymous said...

I think this is great advice. I wish I'd had the opportunity to use it; unfortunately, the head of our division just decided to end work-at-home days across the board. Apparently she was known to say, "I guess I'm doing an extra job today, since Person X is working at home."

Hopefully this actually is a generational issue that we'll see shift in the next few years.

Kristina Riggle said...

Choose your battles: great advice in parenting AND the workplace.

Great point. The boss will tire of the meetings, too, eventually.

Anonymous said...

Fact of Life: If the Boss wants you to do it, guess what? You gotta do it.

Justin Lee said...


I would say that saying yes to the boss all the time is not the ideal thing to do.

Sometimes, presenting your idea with the right rationale would work... sometimes it won't.

but the bottomline is that if you areb a dedicated employee (like myself), you do not need to listen to crap by the boss all the time.

However... your advice to the particular marketing manager was right because after all, the boss does have a right to kn ow what his/her employees are doing.

Good Post overall,

Justin Lee,
SEO & Talent Recruitment Manager,