How to Influence and Persuade Your Boss

June 19, 2014

stand outIf there is one subject that always captures the interest of delegates on our programmes, you can guarantee it’s the discussions on how to manage their boss.

It’s not surprising when you consider the value of being on their right side, gaining ‘brownie-points’ or building kudos in our relationship with them.

But when it comes to getting the best from their boss, few people manage it successfully all the time. Here are some tips that may help in developing your relationship with, probably, one of the most important people to you in the working environment:

– Your boss will value and prize specific jobs or functions you carry out more than others. Determine what they are and make sure you deliver to the highest possible standards on these elements. For example, if the boss values punctuality, make sure all reports, phone calls, emails etc. are delivered promptly without having to be asked for. This proactive level of performance will make your boss’s life easier

– Keep them informed. Proactively informing the boss about changes that may be happening or initiatives you are working on is important as it keeps them in the loop and allows them to ask questions as they see fit

– Find out the level of detail they want. The MD here at MTD wants information in succinct, clear, high-level chunks. His eyes glaze over if you delve into detail that is superfluous to the key message you’re trying to impart. Recognise the level of detail your boss likes and keep to that

– Become an expert in an area your boss needs help in. This will enable you to become invaluable to them. In a previous role, I had a team member who would keep me informed regularly of the cash-flow situation in the business without me having to ask. He was an expert in finance and would let me know if we needed to raise more funds or spend more money. I relied on his expertise for advice and recommendations, and I valued him more than I would ever realise

– Be a great listener. Even if they bore you, really listen for the intent behind the message. After a meeting with them, recap on what the key messages were and identify what has to change to meet and exceed expectations

– Take on good ideas and suggestions from the boss, but be prepared to critique them from a practical standpoint. It may be that you are closer to the front-line than your boss and will have more intricate knowledge of the workings of your department. Take the bosses ideas on board, see which elements would work and discuss if things could be improved by doing things in ways that would get even better results, based on your closer knowledge of the day-to-day activities

– Find out what qualities your boss admires most and strive to develop those. For example, they may say they are influenced by specific people. Ask them what they like about those people. See if there are any patterns that you could emulate. If they are impressed by a particular person’s energy and creativity, guess what? Yes, those are the qualities that you should endeavour to display. Naturally, don’t make it so obvious that it looks like you’re trying to curry favour, but it shows you the key qualities the boss admires in others;  displaying elements of those qualities, therefore, will impress them and make them view you as valuable to them

By helping the boss work on their goals, they will see you as an integral part of the team, so try to create opportunities to influence them on a subliminal level and you’ll see not only the working relationship improve, but the overall results as well.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training and Development

Mark Williams 3 

(Image by Kromkrathog at


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