As a manager, obviously a huge part of your role is to be able to manage your team effectively, take responsibility for their development and well being and get them onside to working towards a common goal. This of course starts with managing yourself. Effective leaders are first of all effective in managing themselves, their time, their focus and their emotions. But if you are in middle management, have you considered that you may also be responsible for managing your boss?
Just being good at your job doesn't cut it when it comes to your annual rise, bonus or promotion. If your boss doesn't know you exist or what your do, what you want or you just don't have that rapport with them, then you will always be overlooked.
Managing your boss is no different to managing your staff. It is all down to the way you communicate with them. Remember, that the one asking the questions is the one controlling the conversation. It shows that you are taking an interest, and coupled with practising active listening skills, makes the other person feel important, respected and interesting. If you can make someone feel like that, you will be remembered for it.
Your boss will also regularly ask you questions to find out exactly what is happening and to check that you are competent. Make sure that you are always prepared for their questions so that you are able to give them a direct answer with confidence.
Some bosses have been in business for many years and have got into a managerial rut. They may not have had the advantage of learning how to manage effectively and get the most out of people, and they are managing the way they have always managed and how they were managed. If this is not your preferred style, then take the responsibility in teaching them how to manage you by finding out exactly what they expect from you, how they would like to be kept informed and how often. This will help if they have a tendency to micro-manage. Learn to predict what information they will want and present it to them before they ask for it.
If have a disagreement with your boss then you must never confront them. Instead, organise a convenient time for a discussion and again, control the conversation by asking question, then put your view across calmly and methodically. Take any criticism as a lesson in how to perform better rather than a personal attack. If you have a difficult boss with unreasonable behaviour, then remember that there is nothing you can do to change their behaviour but what you can do is manage your own. Learn how to manage your negative emotions and self defeating behaviour.
It is up to you to take personal responsibility for your destiny.
Finally, look at your boss as a partner rather than the enemy. You are all in the same business, working for the same company, towards the same goals.