Managing Your Quiet Boss

Have you ever tried to communicate with your boss and wondered if he or she has heard a word you said? Or cares? Ever had the courage to speak up… and had it go well? Managing your boss is not always easy, but they need your participation. Especially the quiet boss.

I’ve been writing about this in recent posts. The more I listen to the stories my clients tell me, the more I appreciate how hard it is to deal with some bosses. It’s difficult to appreciate the pressures on the leader unless you’ve had that position. And yet, sometimes the boss can’t see how their behavior impacts others.

Drawing quiet bosses out of their shells takes patience and understanding. The best approach to helping them feel safe in relationships is to be professional and straightforward, holding back emotional responses or subjective language. Quiet bosses need to know they can collaborate with low risk and enjoy the process with a sense of comfort and productivity. Repeated positive experiences lower their walls.

Offer to help with tasks and ask how they prefer them to be done. Your quiet boss will gradually see the benefits of involving others in their work. Giving positive feedback on how you enjoyed the process offers further encouragement.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or training; they value expertise, and your request will build rapport and open doors.

Be sensitive to their need for structure and planning. Ask for appointments; don’t ambush them with spur-of-the-moment issues. Quiet leaders hate surprises, so inform them of significant issues as soon as you’re aware of them. Present important details in a calm, objective fashion. You’ll earn their trust with other issues that crop up, and they may learn to collaborate with you in solving them.

Quiet bosses may lack the people skills that many consider necessary for effective leadership, but they nonetheless often find themselves in positions of authority. While they may seem like fish out of water in some respects, they can be coached and encouraged to expand their comfort zones, grow their trust and engage others.

What do you think? How do you manage your quiet boss? You can call me at 704-827-4474; let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.

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