How To Manage Your Boss in Four Simple Steps

Hi there, Russell Stratton, President and Leadership Champion with Bluegem Learning.

For the last 25 years I've worked with organizations to develop leaders to maximize team performance and improve bottom line productivity.

In our last vlog we were talking about the seven types of bad boss and as I was saying, this is one of the most common topics that people come up to me after my workshops and say, "Hey Russ, how do I deal with managing my boss?"

So we identified the seven types of bad boss last time.

In this vlog what I'd like to talk about are some tips that you can have to actually how to deal with that boss who's causing your life to become less than pleasant.

First things first, understand their why.

Understand what their prime motivation is. What is it that they're interested in at work?

What is it that they're focused on?

I was talking to somebody the other day who was desperately unhappy with their boss saying, "My project looks at Xand they're only ever interested in Y. They're not interested in what I'm doing"

I said to them, "Well, find out what your boss is interested in. What's their priority?"

For this boss it was was all about the new sales market in western Canada. So I said, "Okay, well to get a better relationship with your boss, perhaps you need to be talking about what they're interested in, not necessarily as much about what you're interested in just so you can build that relationship."

Second thing with that is if you know what it is that they're interested in and what motivates them, what can you do to help them build their success?

If you can help them be successful, it provides you with some leverage in terms of credibility and personal relationship that you're better placed to then bring

on board to the table the things that you're interested in and what you want to get done.

Third thing in here is "Don't stoop to their level."

If you happen to have that boss who is the divisive boss seeking to divide people, or the bully who's in there throwing tantrums, don't stoop to that level - take the high road.

Your own personal brand depends upon it.

Your career in terms of where you're going, not just within that organization but in the future, depends on you staying true to yourself.

If you need to speak up and you feel that you need to address issues that you don't think are acceptable, by all means do so. And in a future of vlog we'll talk about using our BEEF Model that we use in our Managing the Unmanageable program that helps people structure that conversation.

So speak up! Just remember to take the high road.

The other thing to think about is be proactive in your approach.

Do your research. Find out who you're working with, what your boss is likely to be like. Don't accept that job before you've done a little bit of research in the company to find out who your next boss is going to be.

Too often I've seen people grab that opportunity, make that move because they think the grass is going to be greener on the other side only to find that the person they're working for is no better or even worse than the boss that they currently have.

The key thing though is to remember to not let it get you down.

Easier said than done I know. You say, "Russ, yeah, you can say that... You're not the one with the bad boss," but I've sat there and had somebody that I really struggled to work with.

Perhaps that person is actually reaching out to me and saying, "Hey Russ, I've got a problem with my boss. Can we talk?" and I'm happy to do so.

So if you find that interesting; if you're somebody that's actually got a bad boss and wants to get some help, put a comment below or reach out to me with a personal message and I'm happy to talk to you.

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"Bluegem Learning & Development and Corporate Culture Shift have presented two very effective and interactive workshops with our organization. Their comedic and engaging presentation style in the ‘Managing the Unmanageable’ workshop has left a lasting impression on our staff. I highly recommend this workshop if you are looking for a valuable, cost effective customer service training option."

- Jeff Gerestein, City of Brooks

"Russell produced a highly engaging HR programme that reflected our organisational issues. He is without doubt an outstanding training deliverer, challenging managers to address what can be difficult HR issues. I highly recommend Russell, and would always seek to engage Russell on future learning development opportunities."

- Sharon Gartland, DSG Consultancy Services

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Russell Stratton

Leadership Champion

RUSSELL STRATTON is an international Leadership Expert, Professionally Certified Trainer and Coach, with a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management. He is co-author of the book 'I Need to F@#king Talk To You - The Art Of Navigating Difficult Workplace Conversations'.


He is a Master Facilitator for Bluegem Learning's ground breaking "Leadership Success" workshop series - providing a practical toolkit for building engagement and improving individual and team performance. Using live actors in a stop/start forum theatre approach and a combination of dynamic experiential learning techniques, participants come away with a greater ability to actually perform better as employees and leaders in your organization.


He is an accomplished management education, learning & development professional with a proven track record of working with clients in the public, voluntary and private sectors to achieve lasting, measurable step changes in business performance.


Russell works internationally with a wide range of organizational cultures and with all levels from front line customer facing staff to executive management boards. Having worked as both a Personnel Manager and Operational Manager he works at both strategic and tactical levels.

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