This is not an easy question to answer for most people. Take a moment now to think about it, I’ll wait………….
See, not easy. Most people try to just fit in, to tow the line. Most bosses are not confident enough to engage in thoughtful conversation with their staff let alone make changes in their approach to manage their team members individually. That’s the key, every single staff member is an individual, and you cannot expect the same approach, all company guidelines and policies to sit perfectly with every individual in your organisation.
So, before you can even begin to think about educating your boss so he or she manages you well, you need to be very sure about how you like to be managed. Here are some thought starters:-
1. Do you like your boss to check in with you often or leave you alone? Or what level between, never and often, really works for you?
2. Do you like check-ins to be ad-hoc or scheduled? Does a casual “How’s the report coming along Bob?” by the water-cooler work best for you, or do you prefer the scheduled daily work review at 430pm?
3. When your work is reviewed, how to do like to receive comments and criticism? Are you OK with a comment such as, “Look, you’re analysis of the half year figures is not nearly thorough enough and I’d end up looking like a fool in front of the Directors, you need to fix this!”, or would you prefer, “I’m worried we may not look so good if I take this to the Directors the way it is, lets talk about how you might be able to improve your analysis”.
4. Do you like being approached to take on additional work and responsibilities or would you rather ask for more work and responsibility when you’re ready?
5. Do you like being in amoungst a team of people or do you prefer to be away from others, ideally behind closed doors?
6. Do you enjoy participating in company functions or do you prefer to keep your social life and work life completely separated?
7. Are you happy to work extra hours at night and perhaps weekends, especially when it’s needed for a big project perhaps, or is it really important to you to be able to work hard during your allotted hours but then leave to pursue your interests outside of the office?
8. Do you enjoy learning about and participating in projects with other parts of the business, or do you prefer to specialise in what you know and love and be the very best at that as you can be?
9. Do you like your performance to be quantified, like, do you want to hear you’re a 6 out of 10 or would you prefer to hear, “given you’ve only been in this position for 3 months I think you’re doing well, lets reveiw again in 3 months as I expect you will be doing even better then”.
10. Do you like to meet the senior executives, hear about the business overall and perhaps ask some questions and offer some ideas, or do you prefer to focus on your bit and leave them to do their stuff?
You know, these are only a few of the things that organisations will do to you, ask of you, want from you or insist you do, there are many more but this is enough to get you started on thinking about how you like to be managed. As you consider these points, write down your position on each one. As you think of others, write them on your list too, and perhaps share them on this blog for others to consider. I’ll be happy to develop a consolidated list of my others and all that we collect here and post for everyone.
It’s important to be honest with yourself in this exercise too. Some poeple are not going to feel comfortable saying that they don’t want to hear from the executives and sit in presentations about the future of the business. You’re uncomfortable right because you think that’s what the business wants from you and everyone else, they want you all to listen to what’s going on in the business so you’ll feel more involved in the business and will therefore work harder for the common goals.
I think they’re right by the way, if they tell you what’s going on, what they’re doing at their level, what risks and opportunities are presented in the business and how they may afect your department and you as an individual, that’s a good thing. But, if they don’t take the time to link this to your work, explain how you can help in your role to reduce the risks and maximise the opportunities, then you just feel like you;ve wasted 60 minutes that you could have spent finishing that report, and now, you’ll have to stay back late to finish it.
Every organisation needs all sorts of people, from the hot shot, flambouyant sales dudes, to the quiet, reliable hard working admin assistant hiding over behind the copy machine. Not everyone wants to be involved to the same extent. Everyone has different ambitions, one size does not fit all, they’re individuals working in your business, treat them that way and you’ll find you will have improved results.