Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » Get in the Habit of Managing Yo ...
Get in the Habit of Managing Your Boss Every Day

Get in the Habit of Managing Your Boss Every Day

Based on It’s Okay to Manage Your Boss (Jossey Bass, September 2010)

Most management conversations occur in an ad hoc manner -- during group meetings (even if many of the people present don’t need to be part of the conversation), in sudden emails and voicemails, in passing, or when a big problem desperately needs attention.

I call this phenomenon “management on-the-fly” or “management by special occasion.” There is no logic to the timing of most management conversations. In fact they are usually random, incomplete, and often too late to head off a problem or solve it before it grows large.

The only alternative to being subjected to “management on-the-fly” and “management by special occasion” is for you to get in the habit of having regular one-on-one management conversations with every boss you answer to.

How often you should meet with your boss (or bosses) depends on a range of factors. In an ideal world, maybe you would talk with every boss -- reviewing your work and getting set up for success that day -- every day. However, that may not always be possible. Every situation is different, but almost always, you should be meeting one-on-one with each boss more often than you are now.

If you are working with a boss for the first time, you should meet more often. If you are working with a boss on a new project, you should meet more often. If you are working with a boss on a project with especially high stakes, you should meet more often. If you are working with a boss on a project where there is a lot of uncertainty, then you should meet more often.

The last thing in the world you want to do is make bad use of a boss’s time by meeting more often than necessary or wasting time during those meetings. Keep your management conversations brief, straightforward and to the point. As long as you conduct these one-on-one conversations regularly, there is no reason they should be long and convoluted. The goal is to make these conversations focused, efficient, brief and simple. Prepare in advance so you can move the conversation along swiftly.

Once you’ve gotten into a routine with each boss, 15 minutes every week or every other week should be all you need. Like everything else, it’s a moving target. Over time, you’ll be able to gauge how much time you need to spend with each boss.

The fundamental goal of one-on-one meetings is communicating with your boss about the work you are doing for him. With each boss, decide what to focus on at each meeting. Before your meetings, ask yourself the following: Are there problems that haven’t been spotted yet? Problems that need to be solved? Resources that need to be obtained? Are any instructions or goals not clear? Has anything happened since we last talked that the boss should know about? Are there questions the boss needs to answer?

At the very least, in these one-one-ones, you should receive updates on your progress. Get input from your boss while you have the chance. And think about what input you should be providing to the boss based on what you are learning on the front line. Strategize together. Try to get a little advice, support, motivation and even inspiration once in awhile.

[Bruce Tulgan is an adviser to business leaders and a sought-after speaker and seminar leader. He is the founder of RainmakerThinking, a management-training firm. Tulgan is the author of Managing Generation X, It’s Okay to Be the Boss and many other books, including It’s Okay to Manage Your Boss. He has written pieces for numerous publications, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Harvard Business Review and Human Resources. He can be reached via email, on Twitter and on Facebook. His free weekly workplace video is available on his Web site.]

Latest Jobs

Stanton Optical
Posted: 05/22/2015
Fresno, CA, 93650
Posted: 05/22/2015
Grand Rapids, MI, 49548
Posted: 05/22/2015
Seattle, WA
Posted: 05/22/2015
McAllen, TX, 78501

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-319