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This Month's Topic: Managing your Boss

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Hello from the Coaching Team!   How to talk to your boss
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Managing Upward   Coach Introduction:
Britta Niemeyer
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View the upcoming coaching dates   Contact us!
Hello from the Coaching Team
Dear Students,

When you start working, you are free to choose your employer. However, more often than not, you will not be able to choose your boss. And while some bosses may actively help you to develop as a person and professional, it is up to you to make it as easy as possible for your boss to work with you. Thus, it is important to manage your boss to align your interests with his and maximize your career success.

In our Video of the Month, Melissa Kirsch has some tips on how to talk to your boss. In our Article of the Month, we will share with you some learnings from an EBS course on managing upward.

We are also happy to present to you our new coach, Britta Niemeyer, a German lawyer and founder of Do Purpose GmbH, a boutique management consulting firm. She would be happy to help you to uncover your secret strengths and to use them to maximize your potential, both academically and on the job market.

In these newsletters, we publish content or info that we occasionally run into that we find useful or inspiring, but actual coaching sessions can do so much more! Visit the coaching area on myEBS, register, select a coach and book an appointment, or contact us. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

Warm regards,
Your Coaching Team
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Video of the Month: How to talk to your boss
For older generations and in various cultures, talking to your boss is considered something difficult. People tend to become more nervous than they should. Melissa Kirsch, author of The Girl's Guide to Absolutely Everything, has some tips on how to talk to your boss.   Picture could not be loaded
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Managing Upward
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In this article, we would like to share with you one of our team member's learnings from a Master’s course at EBS on the topic of managing upward. It is based on a Harvard ManageMentor lecture, for which you will find a source below.

“Managing upward is a conscious approach to working with your manager toward mutually agreed-upon goals that are in the best interests of you, your manager, and the organization.” It fosters open communication, which leads to your manager being more open to your suggestions. At the same time, it supports the organization when you and your manager work as partners and contribute more efficiently, leading to better performance appraisal ratings, higher chances for pay increases, promotions and career expansions.

Developing a Relationship

There is no better way to understand your boss better than openly asking about his management style, his likes and dislikes, and any unique needs. It is in your boss’s interest for you to know exactly how he would prefer you to handle things. This, for example, includes the preferred way of communication (email, calls, face-to-face), the depth of information, etc. You will also quickly notice if your boss is an introvert or rather an extrovert. In the first case, you might prefer to kind of drop by and keep him updated, soliciting his time, while in the second one, he might be looking for continuous engagement.

Understand yourself: your personal working style, your strengths, weaknesses, blind spots and trigger points. Only then you will be able to manage realistic expectations with your boss. Make sure your boss’s expectations of you are as clear as possible. Tell him which resources you require to accomplish your work. Do not expect your boss to be clear when it comes to tasks. It is your responsibility to make sure everything is specified.

There is no better way to build a good relationship with your boss than to align your interests with him. Promote his goals and make his goals your goals. Work with your boss, not for him.


There are two types of people: listeners and readers.
  A listener wants to hear information first and read up on it later. Readers, on the other hand, prefer to read written reports first and then discuss them. Furthermore, you need to determine if your boss prefers detailed reports or just overviews. Lastly, find out how often your boss prefers to be contacted.

When you do communicate with your boss, listen actively and offer verbal and nonverbal feedback. Withhold judgment to show your interest and empathy. Ask questions to promote a more collaborative relationship. This way, you can gather new information, show your interest and receptivity to your boss’s business objectives, develop a better understanding of your manager’s views, check for agreement on critical points, continue to build trust and rapport, and clarify information.

Sometimes, especially when problems occur, you will have to speak up to your boss. Make sure to do it as soon as possible. Remember, your boss is your partner. This way, approved actions can be taken quickly. Sometimes, however, you will have to disagree. “Disagreeing constructively with your [boss] is an essential part of managing upward. But it takes skill and diplomacy.” Tie your ideas or feedback into your boss’s goals. Provide him with actionable suggestions, including alternatives, rather than just stating issues. Reflect his concerns in you conversation. And remember, if goals are shared, disagreements do not happen often.


“There are often times when you need to persuade your manager to view a situation from your perspective and to take action as a result.” Most of the time, it will be about revision of priorities. Make sure to be clear about what you can and cannot do. For example, “ask for help in scheduling deadlines for new work to avoid negative impacts on other projects.”

Use an appropriate language. ‘You’ is a bad word you should almost never use. Emphasize your common goals by using ‘we’-language. If anything, use ‘I’-language. Examples: “I’m not clear about it” instead of “You didn’t make it clear”, or “We are not likely to meet the schedule” instead of “Your schedule isn’t feasible”. Be clear that you are acting in your boss’s interests, focusing on a win-win approach, emphasizing performance results, engaging your boss, asking for clarification, while at the same time avoiding becoming defensive.

All this seems basic, but when you consciously follow these tips, it will not only lead to reduced stress in your working environment, but also significantly boost your career.
Source: Hill, Linda & Carlone, Katie (2013). Harvard ManageMentor: Managing Upward. HBP Corporate Learning, Harvard Business Publishing Education.
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Coach Introduction: Britta Niemeyer
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Britta Niemeyer is founder of Do Purpose GmbH, a boutique management consulting firm focused on integrity and compliance. She is a German lawyer and has been working in various corporate compliance functions domestically and abroad for more than 15 years. In former positions, she was Chief Compliance Officer in one of the world`s leading logistic companies and an international industrial service provider. Main tasks included the design and management of group-wide integrity and compliance programs with a focus on anti-bribery, anti-corruption and antitrust.
  She feels she has been very lucky with the wide range of professional opportunities she has experienced, incl. extensive leadership skills and intercultural experiences, incl. countries such as USA, Brazil and France.

Britta Niemeyer is a member of the American German Business Club. She enjoys sports (running, fitness) and art exhibitions in her free time.

She is convinced that it is difficult to do something exceptionally well if we do not know the reasons we are doing it for in the first place; the secret of making a difference is our desire to direct our own lives, to discover and expand our abilities, and to make a contribution.

Britta Niemeyer would like to invite you on a journey to discover your abilities and find answers to your questions. She is also happy to support you in your decision making. She is offering coaching sessions in English and German. Contact us to book an appointment with her!
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Upcoming Coaching Sessions
Campus Oestrich-Winkel

04.04. & 05.04.2019

12.04. & 13.04.2019

09.05 & 10.05.2019
  Campus Wiesbaden

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  Marie-Luise Retzmann
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    Michael Hartmann
Coaching & Personal
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Coordination Coaching &
+49 611 7102 1653
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Coordination Coaching
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