I have had a number of e-mails asking for ideas on how to manage your boss. A lot of them contain fairly common issues and some stuff of a personal nature. I am going to construct a scenario containing the range of general issues and then discuss some NLP techniques that may help.
NLP Techniques to get a Better Relationship with Your Boss
In this situation let us say that the previous manager matched your style, let you work the way that you want to whilst still being firm and fair. Let us just assume you had a good working relationship. Now, as is normal in organisations, your manager has moved on and been replaced by someone else.
Let us also say that this new manager has actually been in place a couple of years so that you have had the opportunity to get to know them and build a working relationship. The new boss works differently, is more critical and you don’t have as good a relationship with them. You find them slightly bullying, have frequent differences of opinion and they seem judgemental of others. Given this situation how would you deal with it?
NLP Process Deconstructed
The first thing here is to decide on what you actually want. For example, you might not actually want to develop a good working relationship and leaving the team or the company might be a better option. But, assuming you want to develop a better working relationship spending some time thinking about what a better working relationship actually looks like would be a good place to start.
The way I would start this is to clear out the baggage of the past. I would draw a line under the previous relationship I had with my old boss. This is a different person with different views, ideas and ways of doing things. It would not be useful to compare my previous working relationship with the new one because inevitably they will be different.
The problem is as human beings comparisons are part of what we do. My way of making sure that I am thinking only of the current relationship is to just focus on two things. How the relationship is currently working and how I want this relationship to work. This would be on a purely behavioural level i.e. what do I do, what does my manager do. Just things I can evidence through direct sensory experience.
NLP Rapport, Why it doesn’t always Work
When I don’t have good rapport with people it is usually because I consider them to be judgemental of others. This is the way I will say it, but what I am really saying is that I am judging them on what I see them do. Obviously it is easy to build rapport with people you genuinely like, but it is often less easy to build rapport with those you choose to judge.
The trick is to get yourself to a state where you are observing their behaviour with no meaning attached. The next thing I would look at is how would my manager benefit from working with me in the way that I want. Armed with this information I’ll be looking at doing several different exercises. Obviously there is much more to rapport and you can find many more articles on this site about the subject.
The first question I would need to ask myself is “what am I saying or doing that is holding this relationship back?” The reason I’m asking this question is because it takes two people to do this process of relating and it is not working the way I want and I am doing something to achieve that. And if I could do something differently then the relationship would improve automatically.
Another good question I could be asking myself would be “what do I have to say or do to get my manager to treat me the way I want?” Again this is about focusing on what you can do to change.
If you are finding this difficult it might be a sure sign that the issue might be your own feelings and judgements about the new boss or situation. Often in these cases the issue is not the new manager but our relationship with the old manager. Sometimes it is difficult to see that because all you see is a new manager and things are working differently whilst you feel that you have stayed the same.
In the process of communicating if you change one part of the system then the whole system has changed.
By not changing with the new system I am more judgemental of the things that have changed i.e. the new manager. One thing to note here is that my assumption is that the manager is still acting within the bounds of common decency and is not transgressing legal or moral boundaries. If this is the case then there are obviously discipline, grievance and legal issues to be dealt with.
NLP Techniques to Understand Others, Perceptual Positions
If you are at a stage where you are happy that you are excepting the new working relationship and just want to improve on where you’ve got to. The next thing I would do is a perceptual positions exercise. The perceptual positions exercise is covered elsewhere on this website and it is well recorded in various books and on the Internet, so I will not give too much detail here.
In short Perceptual Positions is a method of understanding a situation from three unique perspectives. The first perspective is your own, the second position is the person that you are dealing with (in this case your boss) and the final position a neutral third person perspective. Using this NLP Exercise I would look to get to the heart of the matter. You would want to know values, beliefs and identity statements that drive my boss’s behaviour.
I am not suggesting that any of this is necessarily easy but often the thing that stops you from achieving is about you and not the person that you’re dealing with. The good news though, is that after this exercise most of the hard work is done.
Remember you have the outcomes that you want in mind, you also have the benefit is that your boss will gain from this and finally you have done an exercise to understand your boss on a very deep level. All that remains then is for you to implement all the information that you have now got.
Covert NLP Hypnotic Persuasion
If only it were that easy. I am often asked for NLP Techniques and Covert Hypnosis Processes to get one person in a relationship, in this case a manager, to change the way they are behaving. I usually get told that they have tried everything and nothing seems to work.
Often the thing that is stopping it working is actually the person asking for the help. Operating from the basis that changing one part of the system changes the whole system gives you enormous amounts of power and you don’t need any fancy techniques. If you change they way you think, then your behaviour will change and how people react to you will change with it.