Your boss is almost always absent. Or completely disorganized. Or not a great communicator. Or doesn’t set clear priorities.
Whatever category of manager you have to work with, it can be hard to do your best job when your support is lacking.
However, there’s a little concept known as managing up that we’re big fans of. Why? Because it means taking control of your work environment so you can thrive on your own.
And if you’re unsure how to do it, we’ve compiled nine of our favorite online courses (that are real cheap) to help you improve your communication skills, become a leader within your team, and better work with even the toughest of managers.
1. Workplace Communication Skills: E-mail, Udemy
You use your inbox every day (if not multiple times a day). So, it’s only smart to get really good at it in order to better improve your relationship with your supervisor. This course will help you properly communicate via email—from figuring out when to CC your manager to how to respond to tricky messages.
Length: 37 minutes/ 13 lectures
Work is full of people with differing opinions and experiences than yours—and your boss is no exception. This class can help you learn to deal with conflicting ideas and create a culture of “dialogue” instead of “debate.”
Length: 1 hour
The head of your department not great at running efficient meetings? Take the lead (respectfully) after you take this course. You’ll learn how to drive decision making, create effective agendas, and influence others—and ultimately make your life a little less meeting-heavy.
Length: 58 minutes/ 22 lectures
4. Becoming a Better Listener, Pluralsight
Sometimes, all it takes in getting you and your boss on the same page is knowing how to listen. This short tutorial can help you improve this skill so you can better understand what your manager (or anyone, really) is communicating and expects of you.
Cost: Free with trial
Length: 1 hour, 36 minutes
5. Say No, Stay Friends, Udemy
Saying no can be hard, but it’s even harder when it’s to the person you report to. Get comfortable with this one word after taking this course, taught by a psychologist and workshop leader.
Length: 57 minutes/ 15 lectures
6. Teamwork Skills: Communicating Effectively in Groups, Coursera
Your boss may not be able to get your team to work together effectively, but you can! This course can help you moderate discussions, handle difficult situations, and make your team more innovative.
Cost: Free to audit
Length: 4 weeks
Managing up is all about knowing how to give your boss the feedback they need to better manage you. Here’s how to do it right (in just an hour!).
Length: 1 hour, 10 minutes/ 20 lectures
8. Managing Your Manager, Udemy
And of course, if you want straight-up advice for managing your manager, this course covers the whole gamut—from increasing your happiness to elevating your standing in your company.
Length: 30 minutes/ 7 lectures
9. Productive Prioritization: Tools to Build Your System, Skillshare
If communication doesn’t work for you, maybe a system will. Learn how to better manage your time (and your boss’) with this short tutorial by a Trello expert. Then, teach these tips to all your colleagues!
Length: 30 minutes/ 8 videos
Photo of employee and manager courtesy of David Lees/Getty Images.
Previously an editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She’s written almost 500 articles for The Muse on anything from productivity tips to cover letters to bad bosses to cool career changers, many of which have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author