Ken Blanchard on Connecting with Your Boss

In a recent conversation with Ken Blanchard a viewer asked, “How do I respectfully encourage my boss to be a more servant leader?” (Facebook Live)

People with lousy bosses often ask about Leading Up. The real question is, “How can I FIX my lousy boss?”.

The bank:

Ken explained that influencing bosses is all about relationships. He used the analogy of putting money in the bank. Put ‘money’ in their bank.

Think first about what your boss needs from you, not what you need from your boss.

Invest in relationships before you correct or confront.

Corrective feedback makes withdrawals on positive feelings. But if you don’t have a reserve of good will, you’re a jerk asking for a loan that you can’t pay back.

How might you convince your boss you’re on their team?

Work relationships:

Connect with your boss by building strong relationships with colleagues and team members. Trouble-makers are burdens to the boss.

Strong connections drive results.

But the most important work relationship – as it relates to satisfaction and opportunity – is the one you have with your boss.

Ken’s strategy for connection with the boss:

  1. Honor their strengths. Ask for advice. (Watch the video.)
  2. Listen for ‘we’. Growing relationships move from ‘I’ to ‘we’.
  3. Prioritize organizational interests. If you want to connect with the boss, make things better for others. It’s not about your needs. It’s about ‘our’ best interests.
  4. Practice listening.
    • Express interest in their concerns and interests.
    • Ask, “How can I help?” Give help before seeking help.
    • Show empathy.
    • Ask questions that help your boss reflect on impact and explore options.

Watch the video and you’ll notice key strategies for relationship-building with the boss.

What strategies might you suggest for influencing the boss?

What should you avoid when trying to influence the boss?

Recommended reading: Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results.