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How to Make your Boss (and others) Much Better

Written by Rebecca Okamoto on Aug. 9, 2014

"Amanda's one of my favorites. She's one of my reverse supporters.”

I was talking to a colleague of mine about people who supported me.

"A reverse supporter"? she asked. "Don't you mean a reverse mentor? Like a millenial who's supposed to teach you about technology or social media"?

No. I meant a reverse supporter.

When you reach a certain level in the orgainzation or are known as an expert or a role model, sometimes support is few and far between. People assume you are self sufficient, or are intimidated by you.

My reverse supporters invest in me and make me better.

It’s one thing to manage down. And it’s great when people can manage up. But it’s a unique skill to "invest up.” It takes a special level of confidence, expertise and forward thinking to invest in your boss or your role model.

And because of her investment in me, Amanda and I have a unique bond, and I invest back in her.

Are you investing up?

Next time you talk to me, AKA your boss, mentor or someone you admire, take an extra few minutes and coach me. Try one of these investment tips.

Give me feedback.

Feedback is a two way street. Don't just welcome it and solicit it for yourself. Give it. My reverse supporters aren’t afraid to give me feedback to help me get better and do a better job. And yes, that includes disagreeing with me.

Advise me.

Be better at your job than I am and become THE expert I can count on. Reverse supporters make advising me part of their job, and feel a responsibility to out-think me. If you're my advisor, you won't wait until I discover a problem, you'll anticipate issues, or tell me about an emerging need, and then advise on ways to handle the situation.

Teach me.

I really appreciate it when someone takes the time to see what I’m interested in, and then recommend things to read, watch or listen to. My reverse supporters send me articles to read and highlight trends. Some use LinkedIn to share posts. Some take the time to coach me in response to something I working on. Helping me grow is one of the most thoughtful ways you show me support.

Solve my problems (even if they aren’t your problems).

Bosses get stuck sometimes and need help! Volunteer to help me. Not only are you supporting me, you’re demonstrating you're a big picture person, and that you don’t work in isolation. It also gives me confidence that I can leave the business in your hands when I’m not around.

And BONUS...

If your're growing me, I'll guarantee you're growing your career too. You're showing initiative, organizational skills, confidence and leadership. You're sharing your thought process by sharing what you're reading and learning. How awesome is that!

Looking for ways to stand out, be better or make the organization better?

How about making me better?

Looking for more on leadership? Check out these posts:

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