By Developers, For Developers

About This Title

Published: September 2022

Help Your Boss Help You (audio book)

Convert Conflict Into Opportunities

by Ken Kousen

Develop more productive habits in dealing with your manager. As a professional in the business world, you care about doing your job the right way. The quality of your work matters to you, both as a professional and as a person. The company you work for cares about making money and your boss is evaluated on that basis. Sometimes those goals overlap, but the different priorities mean conflict is inevitable. Take concrete steps to build a relationship with your manager that helps both sides succeed.

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Guide your manager to treat you as a vital member of the team who should be kept as happy and productive as possible.

When your manager insists on a course of action you don’t like, most employees feel they have only two options: you can swallow your objections, or you can leave. Neither option gets you what you want, which is for your manager to consider your interests when making decisions. Challenging your boss directly is risky, but if you understand what really matters to your manager, you can build a balanced relationship that works for both sides.

Provide timely “good enough” answers that satisfy the immediate need of the boss to move forward. Use a productive solution to the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma to structure your interactions with management, going along when necessary and pushing back where appropriate, without threatening the loyalty relationship. Send the two most important messages to your boss—“I got this” and “I got your back”—to prove your value to the boss and the organization. Analyze your manager’s communication preferences so you can express your arguments in a way most likely to be heard and understood. Avoid key traps, like thinking of the boss as your friend or violating the chain of command unnecessarily.

What You Need



Contents & Extracts

  • Introduction
    • Who This Book Is For
    • Chapter Summaries
    • Acknowledging My Own Biases
    • Plural Convention
    • References to Popular Media
    • Online Resources
  • Making Inevitable Conflict Productive
    • Differing Agendas
    • Why We Go to Work
    • What Your Manager Wants
    • Why Managers Are So Bad So Often
    • Putting It All Together: Building a Relationship
  • Giving Good-Enough Answers
    • Winning the Game of School
    • Winning the Game of Business
    • Giving Good-Enough Answers
    • Putting It All Together: Good-Enough Answers
  • Creating Constructive Loyalty
    • Trust Goes Both Ways
    • The Critical Importance of Loyalty
    • Failing to Establish Loyalty
    • Your Manager Lives in Fear
    • Building Constructive Loyalty
    • Putting It All Together: Constructive Loyalty
  • Sending the Important Two Messages
    • I Got This: Taking Responsibility
    • I Got Your Back: We’re a Team
    • Putting It All Together: The Two Messages
  • Winning the Prisoner’s Dilemma
    • A Frustrating, but Typical, Situation
    • The Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma
    • The Tit-for-Tat Solution
    • Applying TFT to the Employee/Manager Relationship
    • Pushing Back Right Away
    • Managers Who Refuse to Learn
    • Evolutionary IPD
    • Putting It All Together: Building the Relationship
  • Communicating More Effectively
    • The Four Scales
    • The Keirsey Temperament Sorter
    • Putting It All Together: Communication Strategies
  • Managing the Chain of Command
    • The Worst of Both Worlds
    • How Not to Go Around Your Boss
    • Providing Cover for the Boss
    • Your Boss’s Boss
    • Navigating the Matrix
    • Putting It All Together: Following the Chain
  • Your Boss Is Not Your Friend
    • The Dangers of Oversharing
    • Maintaining Emotional Distance
    • Offices in Popular Media
    • My Friend Got Promoted
    • Your Boss Is Not Your Enemy, Either
    • Putting It All Together: Protecting Yourself
  • Dealing with Special Cases
    • The Flat Organization
    • Remote Work
    • The Micromanager
    • The Tragedy of Human Resources
    • Older Employees and Younger Managers
    • Truly Unethical Managers
    • Putting It All Together: Special Cases
  • Managing Your Manager
    • Push for Periodic Meetings
    • Telling Malice from Stupidity
    • Reflective Listening
    • Telling Your Boss They’re Completely and Totally Wrong
    • Putting It All Together: The Real Win


Ken Kousen is the author of the Kotlin Cookbook, Modern Java Recipes, Gradle Recipes for Android, and Making Java Groovy, as well as video courses in Android, Groovy, Gradle, Advanced Java, and Spring. A JavaOne Rock Star, he is also a regular speaker on the No Fluff Just Stuff conference tour and has spoken at conferences all over the world. He has taught software development training courses to thousands of students.

His academic background includes BS degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics from M.I.T., an MA and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Princeton, and an MS in Computer Science from R.P.I. He is currently President of Kousen IT, Inc., based in Connecticut.

Buy the audiobook here for $19.95
Available in mp3, m4b, and ogg formats except as noted.

Add to Cart

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About This Title

Published: September 2022
Edition: 1