Just another WordPress.com site

Archive for the ‘10 Things Your Boss Won’t Tell You’ Category

20 Ways to Manage Your Boss – some golden rules everyone should know

It’s performance-review season in Officeville and that means most of us are going to be singing “me me me” louder than any other time of the year.
Bernhard Lang | Getty Images
You’re an idiot but I know now that that’s not an effective way to “manage” my boss. Have I told you that’s a great tie?!

Is my boss going to give ME a good review? He’d better give ME a raise  I deserve it! Ooh, do you think he’ll give ME a bonus, too?!
Charming though your little “me” chorus is, the truth is, it’s not going to get you very far unless you start thinking about your boss and how best to manage your relationship with him or her. When we think of managing, we tend to only think of managing subordinates but the truth is, you have to manage in every direction: up, down and side to side.
“Managing up can sound like how to manipulate your boss but that’s not really it all,” said Marie McIntyre, a career coach and author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.” “Whenever you’re trying to build a positive, productive relationship with anybody, you have to look at it from their point of view. And that’s particularly true with your boss because your boss does control a lot of things that affect you at work,” she said.
“Even if you work for an idiot, you have to figure out how to manage working with an idiot,” she added. “As long as that person is your boss, they’re going to affect your life and you have to figure out how to work with them.”
So, how exactly do you “manage” your boss? We asked the pros and they offered up these 20 Ways to Manage Your Boss:
1. Accept the fact that your boss is your boss. It’s amazing how many times people say I’m not going to tell him that, he’s a jerk. I don’t have to be nice to him I just have to clock in, do my job and clock out. Wrong! Your boss not only controls if you get a raise this year, if you get promoted or if you get a pink slip but he or she also has great influence on the opinions of his boss and other managers.

If you’re jerky or disrespectful to the boss, it doesn’t hurt anyone but you. So whether you think he’s an idiot or if you have no respect for him doesn’t matter at all. You need to figure out how to manage your relationship with the boss in order to get what you want.

2. Prove that you’re trustworthy. Your boss can’t be everywhere at all times so you’re one of his eyes and ears on the ground. So, if you have information about something good, share it. Even if it’s bad news, you have to have the courage to tell it to your boss so you can put out the fire.
“If you’re sitting on a ticking time bomb, things will happen if you’re afraid to tell the boss the bad news,” said Dion Lim, president of job-search site Simply Hired. “Remember, you and your boss are in this together.”
3. Don’t complain about your boss with others. One easy way to break that trust with your boss is to have her find out that you’ve been complaining about him to other people. So, resist the urge to give in to office complaining. Remember: You never know when that person you think is on your side commiserating about the boss will turn on you. Keep your eye on the big picture and keep your trap shut.
4. Don’t whine! You hate it when your colleagues whine, you hate it when your spouse or kids whine, so what do you think the boss’s response will be if you’re always coming into his office complaining? You guessed it Hate it! It’s completely fair to bring a complaint or issue to the boss just make sure you practice how you say it. Keep it professional and check your emotions at the door. If you want to scream, cry or punch something after work that’s totally your prerogative. When you’re at the office, zip it.
5. Look at the situation from your boss’s point of view. Sitting in your cubicle, it’s easy to sing the me, me, me song, and stew in what you are and are not getting, who’s getting more, etc. But that’s not going to get you anywhere with the boss. Before you approach your boss, try to think about what she’s going through is it budget time? Did she just have to lay off 20 people? Is she getting pressure to improve the numbers from her boss?
“I call it ‘taking the emotional temperature of the boss,’” said Peggy Klaus, a career coach and author of the book, “Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It.” “Think about what ticks him off. What pleases him … Do you know when the best time to approach him is? Is he a bear before his morning coffee? Or, is he cranky after a board meeting?!”
“Timing is everything,” said Avi Karnani and Dave Clarke of GetRaised.com, a site that helps employees ask and get a raise. “A simple inquiry regarding, say, your interest in working from home one day a week shouldn’t be delivered on a Friday evening at the end of the quarter – it’s almost a guarantee that your boss will be stressed … That’ll do more damage than good,” Karnani explained. “However, if you were to time your inquiry to when you know your boss will be most receptive (maybe that’s on Tuesdays after the lunch hour), you’ll probably have more success.”
6. Treat your boss with respect. Regardless of how you feel about your boss, he’s is in a higher position than you and you and you need to treat him with respect.
“This doesn’t mean you have to respect your boss,” McIntyre explained. “You may not actually respect your boss as a person but you need to be respectful of the boss,” she said.
If you don’t, he or she will pick up on it, and respond accordingly. Think about that little punk at the deli counter yesterday. Then ask yourself: If you were the boss, would you promote someone who didn’t respect you?
7. Try to understand your boss’s management style. Every boss has a different style. Some are outgoing and like to chat, some are more quiet. Some like you to keep them in the loop on every little thing. Some don’t want to be bogged down with that, but would rather that you just deliver occasional status reports of the projects you’re working on. Some may not be big on showering you with praise every time you do something good. It also includes how they prefer to interact phone, email or face-to-face. Also, what time of day is good or bad for them. Whatever it is, find out what your boss’s management style is and make sure all of your communications with them fit with that style.
This is particularly important when you get a new manager, McIntyre said. “Call them on the phone, send them an email. Find out what they like,” she said. Plus, don’t be afraid to check with colleagues about their experience with the boss and her style. Every little bit helps.
8. Try to make your boss look good!  You may have learned to keep your lip zipped when it comes to the boss but you have to go beyond not creating conflict with the boss. You also have to do things that make her look good. Not only will it be better for the team it will be better for your career.
9. Try to make your boss’s job easier. Yeah, yeah. You’re exhausted. If you think your job is stressful, think about how much more the boss has to deal with! Get over yourself and do things to try to make the boss’s job easier.
“We’re not suggesting you become the office kiss-up, but helping your boss out every now and then with day-to-day stuff can go a long way,” Karnani said. “Are you tech-savvy?  Does your boss not have the faintest idea on how to operate his iPod? Offer to be his go-to for all things tech.  Bottom line, if you make your bosses life easier, chances are, he/she will return the favor when you need it.”
10. Keep your boss in the loop. No matter how busy you are, take the time to keep your boss in the loop. Per No. 7, find out what her style is how she likes to be notified of what’s going on and how often. One of the worst things for a boss is to have a fellow manager be talking about someone on her team, and not having any idea what the guy’s talking about or, worse, not knowing about a ticking time bomb. Give your boss regular updates but make sure you keep them brief. Karnani suggests maybe making a list on Sunday night of what you plan to do in the coming week and send it to your boss.
11. Express some sincere appreciation for your boss. “It never hurts to express some sincere appreciation to your boss,” McIntyre said. They hear a lot about what’s wrong but don’t often hear praise or appreciation. And who doesn’t like to be appreciated? You’d be amazed about how far a little appreciation will go.
“We’re not talking about sucking up! But things you generally appreciate about your boss Even a boss you don’t love,” she said.
Surely, you can find at least one nice, sincere thing to say even if you don’t really like the guy. It’s not sucking up, it’s called “career advancement.”
12. Don’t feel entitled. Yes, we all know you work hard and deserve a raise. But walking into the boss’s office with a sense of entitlement is a surefire way to be shuffled out of there in a hurry. “Stay away from broad, general statements like ‘Doesn’t everybody get a promotion after a year?’” Klaus said. Even if everybody does get a raise after a year, you want to prove to the boss that you’ve earned it. Go in there with a list of accomplishments not a list of entitlements.
13. Offer solutions not just problems. Do you have any idea how many people on a daily basis, walk in to the boss’s office and dump their purse on his desk? Instead of dropping an open-ended problem, briefly tell him what the problem is and then offer up a couple of solutions. It’s a lot easier to answer a multiple-choice question than an open-ended question. Plus, it will brand you as a “solutions” person one of the most valuable types of employees to the boss. Of course, be prepared that he may choose e) none of the above, and provide a different solution. Remember, he’s the boss that’s his prerogative. What’s important is that he will appreciate your effort to solve the problem, not just dump it on his desk.
“I love it! I always love when someone comes to me with a solution,” Klaus said. “That takes you out of the whining category!”
14. Do your homework! Before you go into the boss’s office with a request for a raise or new project, do your homework. Find out what your company’s policies are, what the company’s going through right now (financially and organizationally) and what’s going on in your industry in general, suggests Stacey Carroll, a human-resources expert for PayScale.com and an adjunct professor at Western Washington University.
Then, prepare a list of key bullet points before you talk to the  boss and do a practice run either alone in your office or before a spouse or friend outside the office. “I call it getting it off your tongue,” Klaus said. That will help make sure you’re brief and not tongue-tied. Plus, try to anticipate the boss’s response and have some answers ready.
15. Have a clear objective. Sometimes you think you know what you’re asking for just because you’ve gone over and over it in your head. But if you don’t do your prep, you may go in there and do the verbal equivalent of falling down a flight of stairs.
Know what your objective is, get in, get out and let the boss move on.
16. Defer to your boss. Lim said one of the best pieces of advice he ever got from a mentor was to defer to your boss. You go in there with clear objectives and say “This is what we’re planning to talk about today.” Then, defer to your boss and say, “Is there something else that you actually feel is more urgent for us to talk about?”
“That lets him know that you’re well prepared but you’re ready to put it in your back pocket if something is more urgent,” he said.
17. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Too often, people see asking for help as a weakness and want to be that “Yes” Man to their boss. Remember that your boss’s objective is to get the task done, so don’t be the “Yes” Man, be the “Get it Done” Man even if it means asking for help. Your boss won’t think less of you for asking, they’ll think more of you because you quickly assessed what it would take to get the job done and got it done.
18. Toot your own horn. A lot of people treat bosses and colleagues like a date they don’t want to be seen as the obnoxious person who brags too much. Knock it off! No one says you have to be obnoxious but if you don’t tell the boss your accomplishments, who will? Remember, you are thinking about one employee you and your boss has a whole lot of employees to think about. So periodically make sure you let her know about your accomplishments and any great feedback you’ve received.
“The boss often really doesn’t know what you’re doing,” Klaus explained. “You absolutely have to toot your own horn. And you can do it artfully and gracefully,” she said.
19. Ask your boss for honest feedback. So, you got a bad review or you didn’t get that raise. A lot of people will take that as a cue to complain about the boss, or write it off as him not understanding or appreciating you. So how’s that working out for you? It probably strained your relationship. A better bet, Carroll said, is to ask your boss for honest feedback. There’s probably a lot more going on than he didn’t understand or appreciate you. Maybe there’s a budget freeze or maybe there are restructuring plans. Find out what the issues are and then find out if there’s anything else you can do to improve your chances of getting that raise, getting that promotion whatever it is you’re asking him for.
20. Don’t try to be friends with your boss. Sorry, we’re grown-ups now and you have to accept that you can be friendly with your boss but anyone who’s conducting your performance review or deciding if you get a raise cannot be your friend. Being too close with the boss could not only strain relations with your peers, but stir rumors of favoritism., McIntyre cautioned. So that not only creates problems for you, but problems for your boss which is what this whole list is aimed at avoiding.
So, does that mean forget the holiday gift?
No way!, the pros say. A modest gift is a sign of your appreciation and, like anyone else, bosses like to be appreciated.
One way to keep it from getting weird is to go in with several co-workers on a gift for the boss. That’s a win-win-win: Your boss feels appreciated, you look good and now you’ve also made your co-workers look good.
Nice!
——————————
By: Cindy Perman for CNBC 

10 Things Your Boss Won’t Tell You

1. ‘Yes, we are reading your emails… and your IMs.’
Like many financial services firms, Wedbush Securities monitors the daily emails, instant messages and social networking activity of its 1,000-plus employees, says Mattias Tornyi, the company’s Director of IT. They use an email monitoring software to flag certain types of messages and keywords within messages, he says. Every day, they end up reading 5% to 10% of the messages employees send.
That’s fairly extensive, but many firms are, at the very least, monitoring some of employees’ Internet, phone and email use, especially larger companies and those in sensitive or heavily regulated industries. The market for email monitoring software has grown more than 25% each year since 2008 and is projected to reach $1.23 billion in 2013, according to IT market research firm Gartner; more than one in three large U.S. companies employ actual people to read or analyze employee email, according to a 2010 study by email monitoring firm Proofpoint. Plus, a survey by the American Management Association and The ePolicy Institute found that almost half of the small, medium and large companies surveyed monitored phone use, and two out of three monitored web use. Instant-message and text-message monitoring are also increasing, says Stephen Marsh, chief executive of email archiving firm Smarsh.
Not only do employers watch what you’re doing, but many act on what they find. One in five large U.S. companies fired an employee for violating email policies in the past year, the Proofpoint survey found. What was a fireable offense? Most email investigations pertain to issues of employees leaking sensitive, confidential or embarrassing information, or theft — not racy messages sent to a girlfriend from an office email account or the occasional online shopping binge from the corporate desktop.
2. ‘You’re too old for this.’
When Joyce Kalivas-Griffin, 57, saw a job opening at a private school nearby, she immediately sent in her resume. She was hopeful the description matched her skills almost perfectly ut heard nothing. Then, she noticed that the job had been posted again, so she tweaked her resume to obscure her age and resubmitted it. This time, the school called her in for an interview. Kalivas-Griffin says she nailed it, but she didn’t get the job: She believes that when the interviewer met her and realized she’s no 30-something, her age tipped the scales against her.
Kalivas-Griffin will never know for sure, but as the workforce gets grayer, age bias is likely to increase, experts say. Roughly 25% of employers said they were reluctant to hire older workers, according to a 2006 survey by the Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, and after looking at only a resume, employers discriminated against women they perceived to be 50 or older, according to a 2007 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It’s a trend, experts say, that’s gotten worse in the recession, as evidenced by the latest data from the Labor Department: laid-off workers 55 and older spent an average of 35 weeks looking for work, compared with 30 weeks for 25 to 54 year-olds. “We know it’s very prevalent,” says Laurie McCann, a senior attorney with AARP Foundation Litigation. “The problem is that people often don’t know it’s happening, because of the nature of applying for jobs.” In a world of online applications, you never see the other candidates, nor do you meet the hiring manager. That’s why career consultants often recommend anyone older than 45 or 50 alter their resume to shift focus away from their age and toward their experience, achievements and skills. You don’t need to list every job you’ve ever had; instead highlight achievements in a measurable way – like say, how much you increased revenue for your department – and be sure to list tech, social media and other skills.
3. ‘I know when you’re faking the flu.’
As a production manager at a high-end commercial photo lab, Stuart Horvath, 32, supervised both permanent and freelance production assistants. Their job was to process the film, but when someone “didn’t feel like dealing with all the slides that day, the machine would ‘suddenly’ jam,” Horvath says  and he knew it didn’t jam nearly as frequently as a few of his staff members claimed. Then there were the myriad sick days taken by one of his freelancers. Horvath suspected he was faking  and confirmed it when he ran into the employee at a bar on a night when he’d claimed to be sick. Look, he says: “I’ve been a boss, but I’ve been an employee too.”
 
It’s true: The boss often knows if you’re slacking off, job-hunting, sneaking out, faking sick or padding your expense report. In fact, a growing number of companies are hiring private investigators to track employees who call in sick with a suspicious illness, according to an article published last month in Bloomberg Businessweek. Perhaps it’s a sign of tough times. More than one in four employers say they think more employees have been faking illness and taking the day off since the economic downturn began, a 2009 CareerBuilder.com survey revealed. They’re not merely paranoid: About one-third of workers admit to calling in sick to work when they weren’t. And that’s not all your boss knows. “Sometimes the people on my team spend their days putting up a smokescreen to make it look like they are working hard, but I know they can’t be,” one employer at a financial services firm in Phoenix says. Another knew her employee was looking for another job. The lesson: Your antics are, for the moment, tolerated, but they probably haven’t gone unnoticed.
4. ‘Your kid? Your problem.’
By now it’s common knowledge that women earn less than men — about 81 cents for every dollar. Having a kid hurts women’s earning potential even further. The so-called “mommy penalty” may manifest in many ways: A mother may get passed over for a promotion because the boss thinks she takes off too much time to care for her kids or that she’s more concerned about the family than her career. A mom may get overlooked for high-profile projects because the boss fears she won’t devote enough time and energy.
Those are hard slights to quantify. Not so for the penalty faced by women who take time off to raise a child — even for a period as short as 18 months. Women with M.B.A.s who left the workforce for a year and a half to raise children make 41% less than men with the same degree; female Ph.D.’s make a third less; lawyers, 29% less, and doctors, 16%, according to a 2010 study by Harvard economics professors Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz. “Business occupations place heavy penalties on employees who deviate from the norm,” Goldin and Katz write in the study.
5. ‘I’m your best friend…’
For the six out of 10 workers who say they’ve considered a boss a friend, this won’t come as a surprise: Being the boss’s pal, or pet, comes with perks. Some bosses play favorites in obvious ways, like giving a particular subordinate the plum assignments or pushing upper management for his raise. Others are more subtle, seeming to treat all employees equally. But then they’ll offer more guidance to a favored worker, or make sure she is introduced to the “right” people, says career and executive coach Roy Cohen. And as long as the relationship works, everyone can benefit: Good relationships tend to lead to higher worker engagement; compatibility can help a worker get a raise or a promotion; everyone likes to work with people they like and trust.
But the footing is never strictly equal when one friend can fire the other. “You have to be very careful,” says Cohen. The boss is still evaluating your compensation and performance, and the minute there’s a problem or a disagreement over either, feelings get hurt. To keep a relationship friendly, without crossing the line into friends territory, avoid talking about sensitive personal issues, he suggests: No matter how close you might feel, ultimately there is always the chance that your boss will use that information in a way that serves his purposes, not yours.
6. “…And your worst enemy.”
But sometimes, the boss is your worst enemy. Just as a good relationship with your boss can bolster your career, a lousy one can tank it. Or worse. One study found that, in incidences of “workplace bullying” — “repeated and persistent attempts by one person to torment, wear down, frustrate or get a reaction from another,” according to the Society for Human Resource Management – the boss is the bully 72% of the time. Nearly half of people who were bullied at work suffered stress-related health problems, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute. Even if your relationship doesn’t deteriorate to that level, your communication can be strained if your boss doesn’t keep his word, gives you the silent treatment, invades your privacy or deflects blame from himself — all of which lead workers to experience “more exhaustion, job tension, nervousness, depressed mood and mistrust,” a Florida State University study found. Worst case, this kind of behavior from the boss can even kill you: A 2008 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that employees who had worked for four years under a boss who was uncommunicative, inconsiderate or opaque were 60% more likely to have a heart attack.
7. “I don’t promote based on performance.”
Usually, workers have to do a good job to get promoted. But in many cases, that’s not enough. Who rises (and who doesn’t) is a mix of factors, most of which workers have no real control over, including supervisors’ preferences, organizational rules and company culture. In some organizations, particularly larger, more traditional companies, seniority may be the main factor in promotion decisions, says Tony Deblauwe, founder of HR consulting firm HR4Change. Seniority-based promotions are more common in the U.S. than in other countries, according to a 2004 study in the Socio-Economic Review, and “more popular than economic explanations would allow.” Compatibility with the boss is critical, too, Deblauwe says: “Who you know makes a big difference, particularly the higher up you go.”
The reverse is also true: Being smart and capable doesn’t even guarantee your job. One manager in a small Arizona investment planning firm, who declined to give his name to preserve company morale, fired a subordinate whom he says was “very smart,” with good credentials and a degree from a prestigious university. But the manager also found him difficult and hard to supervise, and ultimately fired him: “His strained relationship with me was a big factor in this decision.”

8. “I’m shallow.”

As if being thin and attractive weren’t its own reward, being both helps workers get ahead at work, too. The opposite is also true: People who are unattractive or overweight in their bosses’ eyes are punished for it at the office. In spite of the fact that in most professions, attractiveness has no bearing on performance, many bosses subscribe to the notion that “what is beautiful is good” ( PDF ), according to a psychology researcher from Hofstra. As a result, good-looking people earn 3% to 8% more than average-looking people, who, in turn, earn 5% to 10% more than those rated “plain,” according to a 2005 study by Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas and Jeff Biddle of Michigan State University.

Extra body weight comes with its own employment challenges: 43% of overweight people say they were teased, harassed, fired, not hired, passed over for a promotion or otherwise treated unfairly because of their weight by an employer or supervisor. And overweight people are paid as much as 6% less than their slimmer co-workers in comparable positions, according to Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity ( PDF ). The standards are tougher for women than men: Women with a body mass index of 27 or higher are at “serious risk” of weight discrimination, while men must have a BMI of at least 35 to be at comparable risk, a 2008 Yale University study found. And moderately obese women are three times more likely than moderately obese men to be the victims of weight discrimination, the study also found.

9. “I don’t have time for you.”
Forty-year-old Erika Worth owns a background-check business in Vancouver, Wash., and a detective agency in Los Angeles, putting her in a dual role that requires monthly trips up and down the West Coast. So every time one of her 15 employees has a question about a project or a scheduling conflict, Worth asks them to try to come up with a solution on their own. It’s not that she doesn’t care: She just doesn’t have time to handle every problem as it arises.

Bosses have always been busy, but since the cutbacks of the recession, many managers now have even less time to supervise, talk to, or nurture their staffs, Cohen says. Two-thirds of employees say they have too little interaction with their boss, up from just over half in 2008, according to a study by Leadership IQ. “When times get tough, managers become avoidant,” writes Mark Murphy, who worked on the study. And with unemployment so high, some bosses feel they don’t need to spend as much time with their employees: If the employee doesn’t like it, well, there are plenty of other people who would like their job. “A lot of bosses have this ‘but-I-give-them-a-paycheck’ mentality,” says career coach Sherri Thomas. “They think that the paycheck is enough of a thank you.”

10. “It’s all about me.”
You’ve slaved away on a project for weeks, only to hear the boss give the presentation with no mention of your name. You’ve spent months doing research for that marketing proposal, but when it goes to boss’s boss, there’s no mention of your contribution. Bosses who take credit for your work or blame you for problems that you didn’t fully cause can “be equally – and sometimes more – damaging to employees” than the obvious bully, says Deblauwe.

Nearly half of workers say their boss has taken credit for their work, and more than a third say their boss has “thrown them under the bus” to save himself, according to a study by Spherion Staffing. That kind of credit-grabbing and blame-deflecting behavior is growing more common, says Thomas. In a tight labor market, “there’s so much pressure to achieve and people feel like they have to be overachievers.”

To be fair, this behavior isn’t always as bad as it seems. Sometimes it’s not appropriate to credit each employee, such as when the higher-ups don’t care which member of the boss’s team did what and simply want to know the results, says career coach Hallie Crawford. And “some bosses think of the employee as there to help them and that’s just part of the deal,” Crawford says. They may not be maliciously avoiding giving you credit, rather they may see the employer/employee relationship as not requiring it, she says. And for bosses with large teams, “it might be human error” they just can’t remember who did what part of the project.

By Catey Hill

Tag Cloud