If you consider your current boss and the managers that you’ve had in the past you might come to the conclusion that it’s rare to have a wonderful boss/manager who is worthy of your admiration.
A Gallup study, State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders, shows that only 35% of U.S. managers are engaged in their jobs. A lack of engagement will have a significant negative impact by lowering their staff’s own engagement levels.
But there are two-sides to every coin. What are you, as an employee, doing to contribute to the engagement or disengagement of your boss?
Here are 5 things that your boss wants you to know:
1. I am human and not perfect.
Your boss is not super human, nor should you expect them to be. They make mistakes and have bad days just like everyone else.
So the next time your boss is brusque in a meeting, try a little empathy. Help them have a better day, and hopefully that means a better day for the rest of the team.
2. I haven’t been trained as a manager.
Even if your manager did take a 1-2 day manager’s training session, on average only 10% of the information is retained.
If you’re thinking they should know better, because they have been a manager for years, it still doesn’t mean the knowledge has been picked up. Bad habits have only been reinforced over the years and direct reports probably aren’t giving candid feedback.
So, have some compassion. If you were promoted today, would you have the skills to be an admired boss? You may think so but your boss probably thought so as well.
3. I’m flying by the seat of my pants.
Guessing is an every day event in management. It’s not that they don’t know what they’re doing, it’s that there is so much work coming in with not enough resources (your boss is stretched as well) and the gaps need to be covered.
Part of being a manger is taking an educated guess and having the confidence to just do it. “Fake it until you make it” is a common motto, which means failing sometimes.
4. I need you to think bigger than your current role.
If you bring a problem to your boss, also have several possible ideas for solutions. Ideas that take the bigger picture into consideration, the way your boss needs to think.
Your boss gets slammed with issues and problems daily, so you need to understand they may not have the bandwidth to think through your problem with as much thoughtfulness as you.
To save time, bring ideas for solutions, even if none are utilized. This can help to jump start the creative process so you can find a solid solution that much sooner.
Don’t ever wait to bring an issue to your boss; they always want to know sooner rather than later. No boss likes surprises.
5. I’m not your friend.
Building friendly relationships at work is important to your success and engagement at work. Every employee needs a work best friend.
Your boss may want a friendly relationship, which makes work more fun and hopefully less stressful. But don’t think for a moment that your boss is your friend.
If your boss needs to fire you due to poor performance, they will do it. Maintain professional (but friendly) boundaries and don’t send your boss a friend request.
Is your relationship with your boss miserable? Would you go so far as to say you hate your boss? Is the relationship past the point of repair? Then it’s likely time to find a new role.
If you need a partner in creating an action plan to do this, I’m here for you.