How to Please Your Male Boss

Working well with a male boss requires you to understand how he thinks.
Working well with a male boss requires you to understand how he thinks. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Though the modern American workplace is supposed to free from bias of any kind, all too often work environments can be strained because of racial, socioeconomic and gender differences between bosses and employees. Understanding how to work with a male boss requires you to understand how that boss might perceive the world, his work and his employees.

Maintaining a positive attitude in a workplace run by a male boss is especially important. Authors Kate Ludeman and Eddie Erlandson state that males in authority tend to have a negative view of whining or threatening and conspiratorial competition. Consequently, by maintaining a positive attitude, you impress your male boss with a “go get ‘em” spirit.

Be on time. The 19th century poet and politician Edward Bulwer-Lytton famously indicated that “punctuality is the stern virtue of men of business. Author and success guru Dale Carnegie pointed out that in the business world, when you’re early to engagements, you demonstrate your enthusiasm for that engagement, and you are able to acclimate to the environment before the people with whom you are meeting de. Punctuality, consequently, benefits employees greatly when working with male bosses, as it allows them to demonstrate their eagerness to work, as well as their professionalism.

Follow company rules. Ludeman and Erlandson point out that many alpha males are sticklers for their interpretations of the rules. Many male bosses believe that they set the standard for company rules pertaining to dress code, employee interactions and employee use of time during the workday, and, indeed, many of them do set those standards. Consequently if your male boss overdresses for the workday, you would do well to mimic his dress. Similarly, if your male boss does not engage in any downtime chitchat with colleagues, neither should you.

Ask for help. Carnegie points out that one of the quickest and easiest ways to ingratiate yourself to another person is to ask that person for help. This demonstrates your submissiveness, while simultaneously bolstering his sense of worth. Ludeman and Erlandson add to this idea by maintaining that many alpha male bosses tend to expect both submissiveness and respect. Consequently, when you’ve completed a project, it could benefit you greatly to ask your male boss to review your work.

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  • "Alpha Male Syndrome"; Kate Ludeman and Eddie Erlandson; 2006
  • "How To Win Friends and Influence People"; Dale Carnegie; 2009
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