“Fight as if you are right, listen as if you are wrong.”—Robert I, Sutton
A job function has a weighted responsibility and performance attached to it. From the CEO to the Line managers, everyone has a well-defined job duties and performance expectancies. Small and entrepreneurial organizations may not have a clearly defined job responsibility for the manager due to the chaotic environment that growth often creates.
Managers expect their reports to know well their performance plan but often fail to understand their expectancy plan. Whose fault is it?
Managing your manager or boss isn’t about manipulation or cozying up, rather it’s a requirement to do your job efficiently and contribute to the organization growth. Managing your manager is all about pursuing a worthy goal that consists of a healthy working relationship based on mutual collaboration and respect.
Management by objective works – if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time you don’t. – Peter Drucker
In sales, everyone has sales assumptions and sales quotas that must be attained. Therefore, we will have to place ourselves where we can make the greatest contributions. If your manager hasn’t shared with you his objectives. You should ask, even volunteer to help, to ensure that your plan is aligned to drive the accomplishment of his or her plan. The higher up you are on the corporate ladder, the greater the dependency on competent managers. To resolve significant problems, you will need cooperation, reliability, and honesty from your direct reports and your boss.
Think of your boss as a friend, mentor and a teacher with web-like links throughout the organization that can facilitate access to resources, and people that are essential to your progress and future upward mobility.
Relationship success is your responsibility
As a sales leader, you expect certain behaviors, honesty and openness in term of communications with your direct reports. Well, indeed your manager expects the same from you. If you think you know your boss plan, you are probably wrong. You cannot build performance from weakness, the only way to discover your manager objectives is through feedback analysis. Your boss may not share with you some confidential information; your job is to infer proper deductions. Your sales plan keeps you focused on your daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly goals. Your boss idea is to achieve the same objectives at a larger scale. Make sure that your growth plan fits well into his, better yet make sure that your team performances exceed your manager expectancies (Under-promise and over-deliver).
To meet your manager or boss expectancies, you must have a good grasp on the following:
- Mutual expectations. Don’t assume you know your boss wants. Ask and draft outlines of items you will need to realize to meet his demands.
- Keep your boss informed. Be forthright about the good and bad news.
- Be trustworthy. Keep your promises and be extremely transparent even if the news are horrible. You can always deal with a problem when all facts are exposed.
- Value your boss time. Never waste your boss time with trivial issues
- Provide solutions, not complaints. Stop, reflect, strategize, share and listen to feedback.
- Advise, but, accept tossing away your ideas. Accept the fact that your boss may eliminate your good ideas, when it takes too much time or resources to implement
- Know your strengths. You are a unit of production in a moment of the company economic history. Leverage your talent multipliers rather than your potential limitations.
- Know your values. Either you stand for something worthwhile, or you stand for nothing.
- Know what you should contribute. Focus on the priorities that maximize your output and delegate the rest
- Know the results you have to achieve to make a difference. Have a plan, reflect and adjust continuously until you achieve your objectives.
Your manager depends on you and your peers to achieve his goals, the best gift you can give him is to reach your goals with a surplus.
Take your feedback analysis write down in one column your objectives for the month, quarter and year, write in the adjacent column your manager goals. Then, focus on operating your team at a minimum of 20% above current objectives. The easiest way to achieve these aims is by concentrating on where your collective strengths can produce results.
It’s much easier to improve from first-rate to excellence than ascend from mediocrity to passability.
A good boss makes his men realize they have more ability than they think they have so that they consistently do better work than they thought they could. – Charles Erwin Wilson
Many brilliant managers fail to realize outstanding results because they omit to align their objectives with their boss’s. A good manager has a dual responsibility, first, achieve his team targets and second assist his boss in achieving his goals as well. Doing so may require some changes and adaptation, but, that’s leadership in action!
Your job is to make your manager job as pleasant as possible. We are often hired as a leader to lead people and manage resources, but every hiring authority deepest hope is that you will turn out to be a superstar. If that is the case, your manager reaps all bragging rights and glory, and that’s fair (he hired you, and he trusted you- be grateful).
If your performances are below part, guess who get all the blame? Yes, you guessed it right. Your Boss.
A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit. – John C. Maxwell
My boss is great
Your boss or manager doesn’t have to be like you, but you can still learn from him or her. To be effective in your organization, your value’s must be compatible with the organization values. Your boss’s values do no need to be the same as your, but they must be close enough to coexist. High production requires teams’ harmony.
One can learn from great manager what to do better, but you can learn from bad managers what not to do.
I can hear you saying what are you getting to Anthony? Yes, lessons gained from a bad manager are as precious as those you learned from great directors.
A great manager may teach how to excel in some of the following:
- Learn from past setbacks, errors, and failure, to minimize future mistakes.
- Forgive honest mistakes, but, remember and address repeat offenders
- Accept killing good ideas that may require a lot of resources, time and attention.
- Inspire people to accept occasional defeats gracefully and move forward
- Learn how to develop the culture and capabilities that your team members need.
- Change the focus of your coaching based on needs and priorities.
- Lift moral by praising people expertise and unique accomplishments publically
- Navigate internally and externally successfully major crisis.
- Decode talent, stories, reports, and financial mazes
- Hire, train, cultivate, retain and expand superheroes within the organization
- Manage meeting, training, people, and resources within the corporate ecosystem
- Assist you with tips, on coaching, educating and building cohesive, great team
- Educate you on improving your listening, learning and giving feedbacks to your reports
- Enlighten you on motivational techniques, smart strategies and interventions to manage low performers.
We can go on and on, on all the benefits that a great manager brings to the table to shape your career as a leader.
You do not lead by hitting people over the head. That’s assault, not leadership. – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Lessons from bad bosses
You may ask, what can a poor boss or manager teach me? Well, as much as a good leader can! Let’s explore.
- Bad managers lead with arrogance. It’s the quickest way to one career demise and lasting tarnished brand name. Lead others with the same respect you ought to expect. Leadership is earned through the value bestowed upon others, not through the authority of a job function.
- Mistakes despites their nature and sizes are priceless learning processes. Judge people not based on their past errors, but based on their potential.
- Conformity breeds stagnation, diversity, generates innovation and enlightenment. Don’t be a tyrant who expects everyone to behave like you. Your best you may be the worst in others. Be humble.
- Say thank you; it won’t kill you, I promise. If you love to be appreciated, other do as well. Look around you, everything you have and use every day was built by great people you don’t even know. Say Thank You to those that build the roads you drive on, the clean beach you swim in, and to everyone that positively influenced your career.
- “I” versus “We.” Say always we when it comes to credit sharing, because “I” make you smaller, hungry and ugly. Great leaders bestow all the credit upon their direct reports. The bad manager wants it all for himself.
- You have the authority, don’t fight, collaborate and negotiate instead. When you point your index finger, remember the four other fingers point right back at you. If you cannot create harmony, stay silent during tension you may appear wiser.
- Tyrants do not last; they either leave on their own because they run out of sympathetic listeners, or they are pushed out to live with a dark legacy.
- Great leader’s unit people to work towards the same worthy purpose. Incompetent manager’s nefarious behavior units people to plot against them.
- Bad boss or manager are hard to follow as they speak on your behalf regularly, they answer their questions and interrupt everyone as if silence will diminish their worth.
- Forgive your bad boss but learn from his mistakes. His shortcoming lessons you should never forget in your path to greatness.
Keep your negativity to yourself.
Despite the experience, we can learn from all behavioral management styles. All managers have their pros and cons. Have deep respect for each other capabilities, competencies, and differences.
Remember these principles:
- Treat your boss in the same way you treat your direct reports. (Act as if you have a performance coach shadowing, and documenting every move you make)
- Look for every opportunity to learn from your boss and direct reports.
- Take the responsibility of building constant communication channels with your boss. No negative surprises allowed due to negligence on your part.
You were promoted to manage problems and crises.
Stop, think again, don’t panic and run to your manager. Despite the urgency of the matter, control your impulses and anxiety. You were hired as a sales leader to think creatively and find solutions to the most challenging problems. When ill equipped about a situation, engage other experienced peers to assist with insights and solutions.
Your boss is probably very experienced and can help, but he should not be the only destination for wisdom. Your manager needs to feel he can confidently depend on you to resolve the most stressful situations with the same knack, finesse, and gusto as he would.
Your self-education is on you.
The higher up in the food chain you are, the less time you have to educate, communicate or develop others (That’s your boss current situation, be sympathetic). You cannot expect your manager to manage you jointly along with all the responsibility he had. You were entrusted with the management job because you can think creatively, reflect on the complicated situation and strategically figure out a solution that benefits everyone. You cannot expect your manager to educate you on your job. That’s on you.
What you should expect is occasional coaching interactions between you and your manager as they come. You should also, do your homework, to educate, coach and share real insight with your manager. Education and wisdom sharing is a two-way enlightenment highway.
I suppose that leadership at one time meant muscle, but today it means getting along with people. – Indira Gandhi
Your manager needs someone who can take his position at a moment notice. Leaders prepare leaders, be open for coaching under the strenuous time frame. Listen carefully to nuggets of wisdom that your manager occasionally voices. Be an active student that value flexible, collaborative coaching. The length of the session or proper scheduling don’t matter. What is important is the value derived from these moments of wisdom.
Be confident but not arrogant
Be a team player, a company man a taught leader, push back respectfully if you have to. But never make it all about you. Leadership is all about the benefit of the many. The success of the team and the organization is what matters most. You are part of its success not it’s sole core success. You can achieve your personal goals and organizational goals by being a team player, and by showing genuine concerns. Never cut your boss out. You have responsibilities with which to protect the integrity and reputation of your company, team, and manager.
Be Careful–adaptation is essential
A manager who loves reading may prefer reports analysis. A manager who is a listener may not appreciate your reports and analytical side. He may prefer in-depth discussions. Bosses are entitled to their preferences. It is incumbent on you to observe and adapt effectively to their preferences. That’s part of the secret of “Managing your manager.”
In today’s organizations, opportunities abound, upward mobility affects positively the highly talented directors. The need to control oneself, your manager and your environment is more important than ever.