New task for workers: Be your own boss
With managers taking on more responsibilities than in past years, workers now have an important task on their plate: manage their own professional progress and the relationship with their supervisors.
Laura Lee Rose, a business and career management coach in Raleigh, N.C., says employees must know how to clearly articulate their career to their supervisors and take responsibility for the relationships with their bosses.
“Busy managers are often impatient with items not directly associated with today’s goals. They have little time to spend on career management and individual development plans for their employees,” she says.
Bosses do have the obligation to: provide a clear direction and vision of company goals; outline department’s business commitments; articulate job expectations and keep the team on target; and communicate progress, problems and issues.
But your boss is not responsible for you to have: a satisfying professional life, a comfortable work-life balance, good relations with your co-workers, executive exposure and a long-lasting job.
Rose suggests taking time to understand your manager’s style. There are several types of managers and leaders that have been identified over the years. For instance, noted psychologist Daniel Goldman outlines six distinct approaches to leadership in his book “Primal Leadership, With a New Preface by the Authors: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence.” (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013)
An affiliative leader creates harmony by connecting people to each other. A coaching leader connects what a person wants with the organization’s goals. A commanding leader soothes fears by giving clear direction in an emergency. A democratic leader values people’s input and gets commitment through participation. A pacesetting leader meets challenging and exciting goals. A visionary leader moves people towards shared dreams.
Rose adds that despite their style, it’s also crucial to understand that bosses are busy and overworked. So as an employee, you must interpret cues and take the lead. For instance:
• Your boss has a job that needs to get done and often doesn’t care how it gets done or who does it. You have the opportunity to offers alternative resources or approaches.
• Your boss can’t read minds and doesn’t realize your challenges. He doesn’t know your other obligations. You must communicate frequently, request one-on-one meetings to discuss your goals and areas that might need improvement and prepare for upcoming performance evaluations.
• Your boss wants to give good performance reviews because these make for easier conversations and reflect that he is meeting his business goals. You must help by requesting quarterly performance evaluations, even if they are informal, and understand the reason for goals and metrics.
• Your boss wants to look good to executives, meet his performance goals and produce quality service and products. You can help by proposing new revenue-generating solutions and focus on cost-saving procedures.
• Your boss expects excellent work and won’t offer a reward for just doing what is expected. You must differentiate from the pack and do tasks beyond your defined role.
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