Managing North: 5 Ways to Influence Your Boss

influenceOne of the most important factors in workplace success – and actually also general health and happiness – is your relationship with your boss. An effective working relationship with your boss can increase productivity, boost morale and help move your organization towards its goal. On the flip side, a negative relationship with your boss increases stress and hurts progress; an estimated $360 billion is spent by American companies on health care costs due to bad bosses.

There’s a lot of attention given to and articles written about how to be a good boss and what makes up a bad one, but it’s not just the boss who is responsible for a good working relationship. We all need to step up and take responsibility for getting the most out of our relationship with our bosses.

manage upThis is where “managing north” comes in, or in other words – managing your boss. For young pastors with one or more bosses, how can you step up and influence your relationship with your boss in a positive way to support your ministries?

Here are five tips to get you started.

1. Build trust by doing your job well.

If you want to be heard, you first need to step up your work. How well you perform in your job gives you credibility and builds trust with your boss and organization. Sometimes people are very eager to give their suggestions for improvement right of the bat. But giving constructive criticism without trust and relationship can bring up walls. If it’s your first year of work, your biggest focus should be doing your job and doing it well. This goes a long way in allowing you to have a voice in the organization in the future.

2. Check your attitude towards your boss. 

Is your motivation to make your boss better at their job and successful in their goals? I can’t emphasize how important this is. You need to believe in him.  When you find things that can be improved at work, or when certain things are not going the way you think they should – before you offer your ideas to your boss, check your heart. Is your motivation truly to help your boss and improve the ministry or are you just being critical? This is a good question to filter whether or not you should offer that idea or suggestion. It is important to check your attitude. Otherwise, even the best ideas may not be productive in the end. Whenever I share an idea about something, I want to make sure to preface that conversation that my heart is to support my boss’ leadership and to help the ministry be the best possible that it can be.

3. Share your ideas privately and not publicly.

This does not have to be applied in every instance, but use discretion depending on the nature of the suggested improvement. I know that I would appreciate constructive feedback in a more private setting especially if it deals with your boss’ leadership style or something else that might require more time to process. This respects your boss and allows you to focus on a productive conversation without others distracting and interjecting.

4. Frame ideas in the context of the overall mission and vision

Clearly bridging your idea/suggestion to the overall mission of the church is another way to help get your idea across in a positive way. This can remind them of the vision and show them your desire to contribute to the church versus seeking your own agenda.

5. Pray for your boss. 

If you can’t pray FOR your boss then I don’t know if you can really “manage north” the right way. The senior or lead pastor’s job is often wrought with incredible challenges, burdens and delicate situations, and it’s important to pray that they would lead with humility, wisdom and courage. It’s my goal to pray for my boss everyday.  This keeps me in the right frame of mind, and reminds me to invite God into all my interactions. And if you believe in the power of prayer, this is perhaps the most important way to influence your boss in a positive way.













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