Tech & Work

10 ways to train your boss to give you the support you need

If your boss routinely ignores you, withholds praise, or offers little direction or feedback, you might need to take action. See how you can get your boss on the right track.

If your boss routinely ignores you, withholds praise, or offers little direction or feedback, you might need to take action. See how you can get your boss on the right track.


Got a lousy boss? Never gives you guidance or the praise you so richly deserve? Never takes you to lunch? Worse, do you sometimes get the impression that your boss doesn't even remember you exist? If you think there's nothing you can do about it, think again. Instead of wasting your energy whining to your co-workers, try some of these tips to subtly — and not so subtly -let your boss know what you need.

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1: Congratulate yourself on your accomplishments

Tell your boss what a great job you did on your most recent projects. The fact that praise is not forthcoming could simply mean that your boss isn't aware of exactly what you do.

2:Lead by example

Try congratulating your boss on his or her accomplishments. Perhaps your boss' superior is not exactly generous with praise either.

3: Congratulate your peers in front of your boss

Assume the responsibility of telling your boss about your peers' accomplishments.

4: Try being direct

Tell your boss exactly what you need. Just as in all human relationships, we can't expect others around us to know what we need if we don't lay it out for them.

5: Arrange for a little guidance

Ask HR to schedule a management training class for your boss. Many IT managers accidentally fell into this role and have received little or no training on how to manage people.

6: Tell your boss that it's about time he or she bought you lunch

Or suggest scheduling a department lunch meeting or ordering in pizza once in a while.

7: Try sympathy

Like, "Wow, I wouldn't want your job — it must be so hard to manage people, I don't how you do it. I just wouldn't know where to start. I'm not really a people person so it would be difficult for me to say things like 'Hey, Mike, you did a great job on that upgrade.' No, man, that stuff just doesn't come easily to me." Of course, your boss will probably just think you're insane, but it's possible you'll hit a nerve and start a useful conversation.

8: Insist on feedback

If you don't have a formal evaluation process in place or the process is inadequate, ask HR if one can be introduced or the existing one improved. You'll at least get to talk to your boss once a year and maybe even get some feedback on your job performance.

9: Work on communication

Establish regular communication, especially if your boss is a poor communicator. Make frequent requests for meetings to discuss projects, set goals, etc.

10: Share your priorities

Every Monday morning, email your boss a list of your goals for the week and ask for help prioritizing your tasks and filling in any omissions. With luck, this will open up a line of communication, make your boss aware of what you're working on, demonstrate what a conscientious employee you are, and provide an opportunity for your boss to explain priorities. If this fails to elicit the desired response, your efforts won't be wasted: You'll still have a useful to-do list for the week.


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