Should you try to rehabilitate your boss?

I've had a ton of managers over the past 20 years in the

tech publishing biz. Like, lemme see:  22

of 'em, give or take. It's just that kind of industry, restless and volatile

and lousy with reorgs. I was even a manager myself for a brief, soul-sucking,

wholly unrewarding year or so. Definitely not the color of my parachute. Color

of my noose, maybe.

Given those kind of numbers, it's not surprising that I've

also had one or two fabulous and inspiring managers and one or two astoundingly

deficient ones (who have mercifully drifted away to ply their ineffectiveness

elsewhere). So I was keen on publishing Becky Roberts' "10 ways to train

your boss to give you the support you need," a kind of proactive

antidote to the career-crippling fallout generated by bad managers.

Even if you have the best boss in the world, there's some

work to be done—on both sides of the equation—to make sure your manager can

help you do your job. And when managers are just not that sharp… or savvy… or

committed (or okay, if they're incompetent, driven mad by insecurity, disingenuous,

spiteful, officious, and… STOP me), it becomes tremendously important to take

steps to steer them in the right direction. Even if the only thing you can do

is try to stay on their radar.

In bad situations, I've maintained a tradition of suffering

in silence (except for copious bitching to peers), always assuming I was stuck

with whatever supervisory hand I'd been dealt. And that's a pretty reasonable approach

for, say, a five-year-old. But for anyone aspiring to be a mature, responsible,

professional employee—a cog, maybe, but a damn fine cog—certain challenges

need to be squarely met. And I'd say looking for ways to help your boss be a

better boss falls into that category.


Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.

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