Coaching Up – The Positive Effect Supporting Good Behavior Has on Your Boss!

Coaching Up – The Positive Effect Supporting Good Behavior Has on Your Boss!

Leader Greg Priceby Gregory Price – Associate Program Director for the Master’s in Leadership at City University of Seattle’s School of Applied Leadership.

The employee-leader relationship has many implications on employee productivity, support for organizational initiatives, and morale, not to mention the employee’s security, health, and overall balance in life. This list can go and on… What is known is that employees generally accept difficult behavior in bosses rather than confront it (Grosdidier, 2007). My assumption is that, at one time or another, all of us have had a boss with whom the chemistry didn’t quite work. There is also the boss that leads in ways that may not work for your particular work style. Consider though that not all bosses act this way, some are just great bosses, and others have realized their weaknesses and have applied themselves to make positive changes in their leadership style.

So what can an employee do? Sit and take it? Leave the organization and go elsewhere? There are ways employees can manage their boss and help them to become a better leader. One effective means is through the Compliment.

Communication between the leader-follower is typically feedback oriented where the leader compliments the employee, tells the employee how he or she is doing in general terms, or maybe even discusses ways that the employee can increase performance giving specific areas of advice. This communication is most often one way. In these situations, the employee will usually sit and listen to the boss’ praises, rants, or advice. The question is, how often does the leader receive feedback in the form of a compliment regarding the way he or she does things? I’m guessing, not very often.

When I look at myself, I have found that I will usually not compliment my boss. The question I have recently been asking myself is, why not? Leaders are human too and everyone deserves the recognition they rightfully deserve. Wouldn’t it make sense to compliment the boss when the boss has communicated ideas in positive ways, included you in framing organizational initiatives, or asked you to take responsibility in an area that matters to you?

Consider this. Coaching up is not something that comes easily to followers, but by complimenting your boss, this actually has the coaching up effect.  Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool to use.  Who knows, maybe through the simple act of complimenting your boss, more positive interactions could take place in the future!


Grosdidier, S. (2007). Coach your boss. Firstline, 3(8), 12-19.


Published March 7, 2014



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