Do you have a great boss? A terrible boss? Annoying co-workers? OK co-workers?

Whatever they are like, you have to figure out how to work effectively with all of them.  And effectively means you are meeting your own agenda, as well as theirs.  “Managing up” is a strategy for keeping your boss happy so you are happy.

It’s OK to want to be happy in your work. And if there’s a way to achieve that, why not?

Sometimes I suggest that people behave and speak strategically at work to improve their relationships with bosses and co-workers, and my listener objects because it feels inauthentic and manipulative.

I don’t buy that interpretation. If you’re an unethical person, you won’t be concerned about that in the first place. So rest assured you are ethical.

I think it’s simply hard to change one’s behavior. It’s easier to object on so-called moral grounds than to actually observe oneself and do something different.

When you adjust your own behavior, you are exercising control over yourself. You still have no control over the other person’s behavior or attitude. My experience is that if I’m trying to get something over on the other person that doesn’t make good sense, then all my sweetness and light will come to naught. My nice attitude, delivery and behavior is more likely to get me a hearing and to result in cordiality all around in the event of a “no.” That’s it, though. It won’t necessarily get me what I want.

Me, I’m always happy when things end cordially. I’d rather have that outcome than hard feelings, or a situation where I may say or do things I’m ashamed of later. If managing my own behavior can achieve that outcome, then I will do what it takes to achieve harmony.