I’ve talked about the importance of managing UP – the most UNDER-UTILIZED direction in which to lead – for years. To that end, there’s a wonderful assessment from Jill Geisler of The Poynter Institute to help you make it more personal for you.

Per Jill, “Your relationship with your boss is built on shared values, goals, and performance. Some bosses are open books; others inscrutable. No matter. It is up to you to learn as much about your manager as you can, in order to make the most of your working relationship. When it comes to managing your boss, knowledge is power. Knowing the answers to these twenty questions can help you and your boss work together more effectively:

“With that in mind, please fill in the blanks regarding your manager:

  1. Preferred method of giving info to me:
  2. Preferred method of getting info from me:
  3. Biggest current pressure:
  4. Stands for these values first and foremost:
  5. Biggest “hot button”:
  6. Passion outside of work:
  7. Has expertise in:
  8. Lacks expertise in:
  9. Vision for our organization:
  10. Would be really hurt if someone:
  11. Best boss my boss ever worked for:
  12. Expects this from me when there’s a small problem:
  13. Expects this from me then there’s a big problem:
  14. Will not compromise when it comes to:
  15. Considers a great day at work to be:
  16. Handles pressure by:
  17. Is respected by her/his bosses for:
  18. Respects others for:
  19. Has a blind spot about:
  20. Thinks I’m great at:

“How easily did the answers come to you?” she continues. “Could you answer every one with confidence? Consider meeting with your boss, asking these questions and comparing your answers. Would you feel comfortable doing that? If not, what would it take to get to that level?”

Now 20 questions are a lot to ask someone, so I’d recommend picking to 10 or 12 that you feel would be most beneficial to know. Too, if there are some other questions that you’d be interested in getting answered – ones that would help you do a better job of providing a value-added impact in the eyes of your boss – by all means include them on your list, as well.

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