In discussing how to be more persuasive and influential, we can think about how to deal with peers, subordinates, and people outside your organization as well as people you report to or firm management more generally. Here we focus on influencing your "boss" or "manager," whoever in the organization that is, at whatever level.
Some people seem to have an innate ability to "manage up." For others it is an on-the-job learning experience. It requires getting into the head of the person you report to, understanding his or her needs, motivations, challenges, and behavioral style, and demonstrating how what you are arguing for benefits the manager, the team and the pursuit of decided upon goals.
Here are some ways to carefully prepare the ground for getting positive decisions:
We all know that all bosses are not perfectly rational humans who always make disciplined, linear decisions. Sometimes decisions are made impulsively or for the wrong reasons, and those decisions should be questioned in a way that doesn't create a perception of disloyalty. You can influence your manager's decisions if you disagree respectfully and have a record for loyalty.
This article contains excerpts from Chapter 50 of The Rainmaking Machine, by Phyllis Weiss Haserot (Thomson/West, 2004).
© Phyllis Weiss Haserot, 2003