I have been working in Human Resources, People Development and Personal Development for about 12 years and there are a few things that I believe every employee should know about the world of work, particularly in relation to one’s boss. Let me get straight to the point:
1. Your boss does have favourites – they are called good performers. You want to be your manager’s favourite? Be an exceptional performer. Of course there a few strange managers who just seem to prefer someone based on something other than performance but in the majority of cases, the so-called “blue-eyed boys/girls” are superior performers. Try it; you will thank me later.
2. Your boss should take credit for your work; that’s how it works. Many people don’t get this; they often come to us and complain that their manager is taking credit for their work. They would whisper “you know I actually created that strategy and all she did was to present it”. Well in case you didn’t know the job of a manager is to get results through other people. You should instead be very happy if your manager presents your work as it is because it shows the confidence they have in you.
3. Contrary to popular belief, your boss actually wants yes-men and yes-women in her team. I think many people lie to themselves by saying “My boss does not want a yes-man/woman; he wants us to challenge him”. Really? Let me be straight on this one: every boss wants team members who say yes more than they say no. Nobody wants a “Lindiwe Mazibuko” in his team. For those who don’t know, Lindiwe Mazibuko is the parliamentary leader of the official opposition in South Africa. People must understand that a person like Lindiwe is actually paid to oppose; you are not. I’m not suggesting you say yes all the time but I promise you, you must say yes more that you say no.
4. You must actually earn the right to differ with your boss. If you are not performing fully in your role, you must keep quiet and do what you are told to do. Sometimes you get these people who are not even fully performing who think they can just challenge their boss. Do your job first, and then you will have your boss’s ear regarding a different way of doing something.
5. Don’t be high maintenance. There is no manager who wants to have a high maintenance employee. This is a person who is way too needy. You are actually employed to make your manager’s life easier not more difficult. Some people are always taking leave for this and that and they have all kinds of favours to ask for. For those who have never worked in HR, please allow me to tell you a secret; if you are abusing sick leave, your manager knows.
6. The “open door policy” does not mean the door is open all the time. Many organisations have open plan offices now and some employees don’t understand this simple thing: The fact that your manager is at her desk does not mean she is available for you. Having an employee who constantly comes to your desk unannounced is disturbing and irritating. Learn to schedule 30-minute “one-on-one” meetings with your manager where you can discuss work and only go to his desk when necessary.
7. Nobody should ever care about your development more than you. Managers do care a bit about your development but they care more about performance. If you really want to advance in the organisation get this now: your development is your own baby. Always initiate discussions with your manager about your development. Schedule a few minutes meeting with your organisation’s Head of Learning & Development for advice; volunteer to do other projects to learn. Your development is in your hands.
Bye for now.