The monetary value of your relationshipsYour boss/manager/supervisor is the person who has more influence over your paycheck than anyone else. Your ability to manage and maintain the best possible relationship results in a bigger paycheck over time, more flexibility on debatable issues and a nicer work environment.
This might be easier said than done when you are working for Bozo the Boss. At least, you might think that the boss is a Bozo, but his managers appointed him to the position, so perhaps you are not seeing things in the same light?
What if you were to find out that the very behaviors you find so annoying, are well-intention-ed behaviors being misapplied? You say 'Yeah right.'
"But Wayne, you don't understand. You have never worked for my boss. She waits until 4:22 PM on Friday to tell me that I have to work the weekend. You should see the look in my son's eyes when I tell him our camping trip has just been cancelled (again)." Actually, I do understand. I have been there, done that.
"But Wayne, you don't understand. My manager told me that it is impossible to plan ahead, because the work changes so often." Again - been there, done that.
"But Wayne, you don't understand. My manager .... (fill in your blanks here)." I have been working, full-time since 1983. I have probably "Been there, done that" for all of your examples. Bad managers are not exclusively employed at your company.
Although human behavior is not completely predictable, Relationship Awareness Theory® and your manager's motivational value system® (MVS®) give you a clue as to what is important to him. A person who always has a lot of things going on, runs from meeting to meeting, and thinks nothing of changing your family's weekend plans on Friday at 4:22 PM, is likely to be exhibiting Directive-Assertive behavior. He draws self-worth from being busy, active, directing others and running around.
What is your MVS®? Are you also Directive-Assertive? Do you like to talk about strategy, skip over the details, then rush off to the next hot topic? Then you are likely to be in a great starting place to work with this manager. If you care about people first, or details or involving many other people in every discussion, then you are in for a rough time, unless you make the effort to borrow behaviors that build this relationship.
Here is what you need to remember about relationships.
- People don't see things the same way you do. We each have different lenses on the world, influenced by our backgrounds, language and cultures. (For example, I am from South Africa, was influenced by eight years in the South African Defense Force, 20 years of part-time study and now manage projects and lead workshops in Connecticut, USA.) I doubt if you see things the same way as I do, just as I don't see things the way you do. Therefore, any motives you assign to my behaviors are based on what your motives are for that behavior.
For example, I am an early bird. I start working early every day, long before sunrise, and want to get finished at a reasonable hour so that I can beat the afternoon traffic. How would you interpret my behavior, when you see me leave the office at 4 PM? As a slacker? Is that because you would consider yourself a slacker if you were to leave at the office at 4 PM?
- Email correspondence and other electronic communications are fertile grounds for misunderstandings. You receive an email in ALL CAPS, and are offended by your manager shouting at you in front of your colleagues. Upon further discussion you find out that your manager did not intend to use ALL CAPS, she just does not know email etiquette.
Now that you agree it is possible, just possible, that Bozo the Boss has good intentions but is misapplying his strengths so that his drive and passion resembles a bull-dozer, what can you do about it?
Well, this is where Relationship Awareness Theory® starts to make cents. (I couldn't resist the pun.)
Here are the brief steps. (Call me if you want to walk through in more detail).
1. Become self-aware. Take the assessment and find out your own MVS®.
2. Think about the frequency of you manager's actions, words used and behaviors. You can hazard a good guess as to his MVS®. (Probably has a Directive-Assertive MVS®, if you are handed a long to-do list, as you walk out the door on Friday afternoon.)
3. Assess your default behaviors, and how they compare to the preferred behaviors of your manager. For example, I like details and want time to analyse information before making decisions. I feel that by providing details to a manager is a sign of respect and gives him the information he needs to make informed decisions. This drives a manager with a Directive Assertive MVS®, completely nuts. It causes conflict for him, and I am oblivious as to why my good intentions are causing conflict.
4. Learn the language, preferred behaviors and the way your manager prefers to receive information.
5. Adapt your own language and behavior to match the behavior of your manager. This is called borrowing strengths.
This is not always easy. It takes conscious effort on your part to learn language and behaviors that are natural for your manager, but foreign to me. The payoff will eventually show up in your paycheck and also result in a better working environment for you.