Change Implementation Techniques for Forming Transitional Team, Creating Alignment, Maximizing Connectedness and Creativity

Technique 4.7 Managing Upwards

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This focuses on performance ‐ by you and your bosses - and helps you identify what can be improved in your individual and collective performances

Identifying areas of concern

1 What are some of the things that your boss does best in his/her job?

2 What are some of the things your boss needs to improve?

3 Look at the answers from the above 2 questions and prioritise them.

4 Based on the above answers, what are the 3 or 4 things you can do to make the most of your boss's particular strengths and weaknesses?

5 What do you do best in your job (including your responsibilities that you perform best at)?

6 What areas do you need to improve in?

7 From the answers to questions 5 and 6, choose the most important ones.

8 What are the 3 or 4 things that your boss could do (or do differently) to help you perform better in your job?

9 How can you best approach your boss to enlist his/her cooperation in the matters listed above?

10 Which of your colleagues has the best working relationship with your boss and why?

11 On what occasions do you and your boss have the most effective working relationship?

12 Based on the answers to questions 10 and 11, what type of relationship does your boss feel most comfortable with, and work most effectively within?

13 Which of your colleagues seems to have the worst working relationship with your boss and why?

14 On what occasions do you and your boss have the least effective working relationship?

15 Considering the answer to question 14, what does this imply about the type of relationship your boss doesn't feel comfortable with?

16 Reviewing your responses to the above questions, what can you do differently to enable you to build the sort of working relationship that seems to be effective for your boss?

How to approach your boss (What issues will be useful to approach your boss about? And what is the best approach to maximize the chances of success?)

1. Arrange in order of importance the issues that you need to address to improve your working relationship with your boss (including those to make the first approach about)

2. Visualize your boss's response (likes and dislikes) to the issues you want to raise (remember: you may be inaccurate in predicting your boss's response and try not to put your boss on the spot)

3. As a trial run, choose one issue and rehearse your approach with a friend who will provide feedback (remember:

- focus on your state of mind by being deliberately relaxed and try to maintain this state of relaxation

- try to stay future-oriented and non-defensive, with the aim of making it a joint problem-solving session

- observe carefully your boss's reactions (including body language and tone of voice), especially when he/she is speaking; listen to understand his/her position and point of view

- identify the issues that your boss has a keen interest in and give priority to them. At the same time, allow yourself to return to your own issues when the boss's issues are resolved)

How to change a relationship with a boss (need to be aware that sometimes your boss will not react positively to your approach; remember:

- any change in your and/or his/her behaviour will change the relationship

- people's behaviour is partly the result of how we are rewarded and punished

1. Make a list of the things your boss does that interfere with your work effectiveness and/or your satisfaction.

2. Review the above list to ascertain how representative, specific (the more specific an item, the easier it is to analyse), important the elements are, and the likelihood of improving matters?

3. Based on your answers to question 2, choose one aspect and write a description of your boss's behaviour and your reaction to it.

4. Describe what you would prefer your boss to do?

5. With the help of friends and/or colleagues and using the answers to question 2, look at the behaviour you would like to change in your boss, ie

- list the advantages to your boss of what he/she does now as against what you would prefer

- list the disadvantages to your boss of what he/she does now as against what you would prefer

6. Review the above answers to identify those you think are the most important in determining the boss's present behaviour?

7. As there are most likely rewards and penalties that determine your boss's behaviour, is it now apparent why your boss behaves the way he/she does?

(NB if it is not apparent, you may have missed something out of your analysis and/or misjudged the importance of some items. To check this, look at the most powerful rewards and penalties, and identify which ones are immediate, most important to the person concerned and/or invisible involving the person's ego and feelings)

8. Remember: the way to change your boss's behaviour is to change the rewards and penalties and influence his/her behaviour. Looking at the answers to question 2, which of these is the easiest to reduce or eliminate?

9. Remember: people react not to the world as it is, but to the world as they see it. Thus there is a need to change your perceptions and your boss's perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of certain behaviours. Look at your own behaviour and see what you can do and/or say to change the perceptions of the rewards and penalties for your boss?

(NB This needs to be achievable!!!!!!)

10. Develop an action plan while considering

- what assumptions have you made and are they valid and achievable?

- how do you expect your boss to react? Based on this answer, do you need to revise your approach?

- identify where your plan can go wrong and ways to handle this?

(source: Bob Dick, 1999)


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