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8 Reasons why the boss is your most important relationship


As a sales manager dedicated to building high performance teams I always spent a lot of time recruiting the right candidates to join, making sure they would be a good fit with the other team members and even some time on making sure that they could find their way to the coffee machine on their first day.

The one big mistake that I made was not spending enough time managing up – in fact I used to see most conversations with my boss as being a fairly useless waste of time and vaguely annoying. On the other hand I had an open door policy for my team so that they could approach me at almost any time of day or night.  In retrospect I can now see how annoying this must have been for my boss and how restrictive for my career (which never quite made the dizzying heights that I had planned).

Many of us see time spent managing our boss as the domain of the company politician who is more interested in positioning himself for the next career move but here’s why the boss relationship is most important:

  1. The boss is your champion and has relationships with the management, board of directors and shareholders of the company.
  2. The boss hired you and has a vested interest in your success.
  3. The boss didn’t hire you and has still not decided that you are the best choice for the important job that you are doing.
  4. Your best performing sales rep has a better relationship with the boss than you.
  5. You are missing valuable opportunities to learn from a very experienced and (in career terms) more successful person than you.
  6. The boss is missing an opportunity to learn from your experience.
  7. Your team needs you to represent their interests to senior management.
  8. You don’t want to find out that the boss is disappointed with you at your annual review.

And here’s what to do about it:

  1. If your boss hasn’t already done it schedule a regular weekly review (outside of prime sales hours) with her to gain feedback and share insights.
  2. Always get good news across quickly and bad news immediately – do not let someone else tell him either way.
  3. Don’t wait until the end of quarter to downgrade your forecast – see rule 2.
  4. Accept opportunities to socialise with your boss – without trying to be her best friend.

For more information and our White Paper on sales management coaching please visit

Photo by Alexandre Perotto on Unsplash


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