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I read with great interest your advice to Mr. Confused in your column on Sunday, May 9, 2010 page M2 encouraging him to build a positive relationship with his department manager despite the latter’s actions and reactions against him.  The reason for my interest in reading your advice is because I’m in the same predicament as Mr. Confused.  My supervisor (I’m just a rank-and-file) ignores me.  Even during meetings when I would raise my hand to express my opinion or idea, he would not even call me at all.  This has caused me to be embarrassed.  I don’t participate anymore in our meetings.  I just do my work the best way I can and just leave him alone.

Shouldn’t a supervisor be the one to develop a good relationship with his subordinates so that they will be motivated and productive?  It’s unfair that we subordinates should be the one to “dance to the music” (to quote you) just because he is the boss.  I’m also confused about the role of a boss.

Mr. Sigh

 

Try to reflect on what you have done to make your boss ignore you, and not call you to express your opinion/idea during meetings.  If you can’t recall what you’ve done to get these reactions, try asking your co-employees what their observations of you were so you can become aware of your behaviors.  Do they see your boss the same way you do?  Do they get the same treatment as you?  Perhaps hearing from them will modify your perception of your boss.

If you always perceive your boss the way you do, chances are you will always see him doing it.  We see what we expect to see.  When you always see him in a negative light, you will tend to avoid him, which is what you are now doing, and to be critical of him.

Yes, a boss should do everything to have strong positive relationship with each of his/her subordinates so that he/she can form a strong team who work together for greater productivity  to meet team goals and thereby contribute to organizational productivity.  Sadly, this does not always happen because of the following reasons:  (1) the boss’ lack of training in management and leadership; (2) the boss has a low Emotional Quotient (EQ) required for successful leadership.  Many bosses were promoted based on their IQ and technical skills.  They tend to be task-oriented rather than to be both people- and task-oriented.  The most important role of the boss is to develop each of his subordinates thru coaching and giving feedback in order to make them successful and productive and to build a strong team.

As I advised Mr. Confused, you have to accept you boss as he is and try your best to improve your relationship with him.  You can not choose to ignore your boss the way you are doing now.  He can also choose to ignore you and you are the loser.  You can not afford to wait for him to initiate positive interactions because you may have to wait forever.

Instead of being reactive, show proactivity by doing the following:

1.      Change your perception of him.  See his good traits and his positive behaviors even though these do not impact on you directly.  Example:  punctuality for work, conducting meetings efficiently, good communication skills, etc.  Find a reason to like and admire him.

2.      Ask him for feedback on your work so you can further improve.

3.      Ask him what he expects of you, what his priorities are and his timelines.

4.      Come to the meetings that he calls on time and being prepared.  Do not use your cell phone during the meeting even if the others do.  Be attentive during meetings.

5.      Look for opportunities to be of help to your boss.

6.      When you are done with the tasks required by your position, go to him for additional work he may want to give you.

7.      Don’t use the internet for personal use.  Office time is company time; therefore, you are paid to work.

8.      Build up your boss.  Never say anything critical about him to any of your co-employees.  Negative talk travels fast.

9.      Recognize his humanity.  Acknowledge that he has weaknesses just like you.  Compensate for his weak points but don’t make it obvious to him and never tell others about them.  Be low key.

10.  If you have “great ideas”, sell them to your boss first.  You may be tempted to make suggestions perhaps during meetings to show your boss and your co-employees how smart you are.  Unfortunately this is not the right way to get the admiration of your boss.

11.  Show respect for your boss at all times.  Be careful when you try to propose changes or innovations in your work or section.  Consider any or all of the following:  first, you probably don’t know what you’re talking about; second, if the problem and its solution look so obvious yet no one has taken action, perhaps there’s a deeper level you don’t know; third, nobody likes a know-it-all; and, fourth, you’re making your boss look inept.  Before you push your idea, get your boss’ reaction.  If he agrees with it, get him to champion your idea, and make it his, not yours.

12.  Find out his “soft” spot (i.e., what he likes) and his “sore” spots (what irritates him).  Observe what pleases or displeases him.  What he approves or disapproves and his work habits.  Avoid doing those things that displease him and of which he disapproves.

When you do these, you are also enhancing your own EQ and developing your interpersonal and communication skills, strengthening your character and developing your personality.   All these are vital for success in building strong positive relationships with people and in improving your chances for career advancement.  Your EQ is enhanced when you develop greater self-awareness of your behaviors and how they affect other people; enhance your sensitivity to other people’s needs and values, and greater motivation to manage your own behaviors.

Why it is important for you to initiate a good relationship with your boss so that you can get along with him and be productive by his standards?  Whether you like it or not, your boss has power over you.

1.      He is the one giving you job assignments.  These assignments can be opportunities for you to grow in knowledge and skills, to experience pride in your work and joy in your accomplishment.  These job assignments can also be opportunities for you to gain visibility in your organization

2.      He is the one who appraises and evaluates your performance on these tasks in terms of quality, quantity, and timeliness.  He is the one who rates you and his ratings appear in your performance appraisal and become the basis for incentives and for your career moves.

3.      He can give you challenging assignments that bring out your potentials.  Or he can merely give you routine tasks that can bore or frustrate you.

4.      He has power to approve or disapprove your requests for data, equipment, materials and training to enable you to do your work well and better.

5.      He decides if you are “doing the right things and doing things right”.  He decides what is “urgent” and “important”.  If you do work your boss doesn’t need, value or care about, even if you do it brilliantly (according to your standards), it doesn’t count as “good work”.

The above are things we don’t learn in school; we learn them only from the school of hard knocks which can be painful and frustrating.  Learning is life-long; it never ends.

Your boss is your #1 Customer.  A customer is someone whose needs you must satisfy according to his standards.  Your work contributes to his goal.  Your success and professional growth should benefit your boss.  You can succeed if and when you help your boss succeed.  Dr. Andrew Du Brie, a management author, has written thus:  “When you are caught up in the pressures of pursuing your own ambitions, it is easy to forget the primary reason you were hired:  your prospective boss thought you could help accomplish the department’s objectives [and] contribute directly or indirectly to his/her success.”

May God bless you with an open mind and heart so that you will know what to do to bring the needed change in your attitudes, values and behaviors.

 

Josie O. Santamaria

MR. SIGH

May 24th, 2010 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

I read with great interest your advice to Mr. Confused in your column on Sunday, May 9, 2010 page M2 encouraging him to build a positive relationship with his department manager despite the latter’s actions and reactions against him.  The reason for my interest in reading your advice is because I’m in the same predicament as Mr. Confused.  My supervisor (I’m just a rank-and-file) ignores me.  Even during meetings when I would raise my hand to express my opinion or idea, he would not even call me at all.  This has caused me to be embarrassed.  I don’t participate anymore in our meetings.  I just do my work the best way I can and just leave him alone.

 

Shouldn’t a supervisor be the one to develop a good relationship with his subordinates so that they will be motivated and productive?  It’s unfair that we subordinates should be the one to “dance to the music” (to quote you) just because he is the boss.  I’m also confused about the role of a boss.

Mr. Sigh

 

 

Try to reflect on what you have done to make your boss ignore you, and not call you to express your opinion/idea during meetings.  If you can’t recall what you’ve done to get these reactions, try asking your co-employees what their observations of you were so you can become aware of your behaviors.  Do they see your boss the same way you do?  Do they get the same treatment as you?  Perhaps hearing from them will modify your perception of your boss.

 

If you always perceive your boss the way you do, chances are you will always see him doing it.  We see what we expect to see.  When you always see him in a negative light, you will tend to avoid him, which is what you are now doing, and to be critical of him.

 

Yes, a boss should do everything to have strong positive relationship with each of his/her subordinates so that he/she can form a strong team who work together for greater productivity  to meet team goals and thereby contribute to organizational productivity.  Sadly, this does not always happen because of the following reasons:  (1) the boss’ lack of training in management and leadership; (2) the boss has a low Emotional Quotient (EQ) required for successful leadership.  Many bosses were promoted based on their IQ and technical skills.  They tend to be task-oriented rather than to be both people- and task-oriented.  The most important role of the boss is to develop each of his subordinates thru coaching and giving feedback in order to make them successful and productive and to build a strong team.

 

As I advised Mr. Confused, you have to accept you boss as he is and try your best to improve your relationship with him.  You can not choose to ignore your boss the way you are doing now.  He can also choose to ignore you and you are the loser.  You can not afford to wait for him to initiate positive interactions because you may have to wait forever.

 

Instead of being reactive, show proactivity by doing the following:

 

1.      Change your perception of him.  See his good traits and his positive behaviors even though these do not impact on you directly.  Example:  punctuality for work, conducting meetings efficiently, good communication skills, etc.  Find a reason to like and admire him.

2.      Ask him for feedback on your work so you can further improve.

3.      Ask him what he expects of you, what his priorities are and his timelines.

4.      Come to the meetings that he calls on time and being prepared.  Do not use your cell phone during the meeting even if the others do.  Be attentive during meetings.

5.      Look for opportunities to be of help to your boss.

6.      When you are done with the tasks required by your position, go to him for additional work he may want to give you.

7.      Don’t use the internet for personal use.  Office time is company time; therefore, you are paid to work.

8.      Build up your boss.  Never say anything critical about him to any of your co-employees.  Negative talk travels fast.

9.      Recognize his humanity.  Acknowledge that he has weaknesses just like you.  Compensate for his weak points but don’t make it obvious to him and never tell others about them.  Be low key.

10.  If you have “great ideas”, sell them to your boss first.  You may be tempted to make suggestions perhaps during meetings to show your boss and your co-employees how smart you are.  Unfortunately this is not the right way to get the admiration of your boss.

11.  Show respect for your boss at all times.  Be careful when you try to propose changes or innovations in your work or section.  Consider any or all of the following:  first, you probably don’t know what you’re talking about; second, if the problem and its solution look so obvious yet no one has taken action, perhaps there’s a deeper level you don’t know; third, nobody likes a know-it-all; and, fourth, you’re making your boss look inept.  Before you push your idea, get your boss’ reaction.  If he agrees with it, get him to champion your idea, and make it his, not yours.

12.  Find out his “soft” spot (i.e., what he likes) and his “sore” spots (what irritates him).  Observe what pleases or displeases him.  What he approves or disapproves and his work habits.  Avoid doing those things that displease him and of which he disapproves.

 

When you do these, you are also enhancing your own EQ and developing your interpersonal and communication skills, strengthening your character and developing your personality.   All these are vital for success in building strong positive relationships with people and in improving your chances for career advancement.  Your EQ is enhanced when you develop greater self-awareness of your behaviors and how they affect other people; enhance your sensitivity to other people’s needs and values, and greater motivation to manage your own behaviors.

 

Why it is important for you to initiate a good relationship with your boss so that you can get along with him and be productive by his standards?  Whether you like it or not, your boss has power over you.

 

1.      He is the one giving you job assignments.  These assignments can be opportunities for you to grow in knowledge and skills, to experience pride in your work and joy in your accomplishment.  These job assignments can also be opportunities for you to gain visibility in your organization

2.      He is the one who appraises and evaluates your performance on these tasks in terms of quality, quantity, and timeliness.  He is the one who rates you and his ratings appear in your performance appraisal and become the basis for incentives and for your career moves.

3.      He can give you challenging assignments that bring out your potentials.  Or he can merely give you routine tasks that can bore or frustrate you.

4.      He has power to approve or disapprove your requests for data, equipment, materials and training to enable you to do your work well and better.

5.      He decides if you are “doing the right things and doing things right”.  He decides what is “urgent” and “important”.  If you do work your boss doesn’t need, value or care about, even if you do it brilliantly (according to your standards), it doesn’t count as “good work”.

 

The above are things we don’t learn in school; we learn them only from the school of hard knocks which can be painful and frustrating.  Learning is life-long; it never ends.

 

Your boss is your #1 Customer.  A customer is someone whose needs you must satisfy according to his standards.  Your work contributes to his goal.  Your success and professional growth should benefit your boss.  You can succeed if and when you help your boss succeed.  Dr. Andrew Du Brie, a management author, has written thus:  “When you are caught up in the pressures of pursuing your own ambitions, it is easy to forget the primary reason you were hired:  your prospective boss thought you could help accomplish the department’s objectives [and] contribute directly or indirectly to his/her success.”

 

May God bless you with an open mind and heart so that you will know what to do to bring the needed change in your attitudes, values and behaviors.

 

Josie O. Santamaria

I am 29 years old and have been with our company for 5 years now.  I can say that my company is an ideal one.  My only problem is my boss.  I have been a supervisor for less than a year and have discovered that what my three co-supervisors including my former boss, have told me about our boss, who is our department manager, are all true.  She is an old maid in her mid-30s.  She is hardworking and very results-oriented and keeps long hours.  I was also told by my former boss that she was the one who promoted me from my former technical position.  She is unapproachable; her facial expression and demeanor are such that one would hesitate to approach her.  She is always at a meeting or in front of her computer.  She wants everything to be approved by her and to pass to and through her.  She even wants my four subordinates to go directly to her and she goes directly to any of them for inquiries, information or questions even in my presence.  I’m confused about my role. I want to talk to her but feel discouraged to do so because of her actions and actuations.  I don’t want to seek a transfer to another department because I will surely start from the bottom again; neither do I want to resign because of her.  But I don’t know what to do.  Please advise me.

Mr. Confused

 

You mentioned three positive things about your boss, e.g., she saw your strengths and potentials for leadership and had you promoted; she is hard working and results-oriented.  The rest of your descriptions of her are negative; additionally you perceive her as your “only problem”.

It is important that you take positive steps to meet with her.  Since you are reporting directly to her and you impact on each other’s work, having a positive relationship with her will be beneficial to you, in both your work and in your career.  To do this, it is important for you to set aside your negative thoughts of her and put in your mind the three positive things about her.  These negative thoughts lead to your negative perception and feelings affecting your behaviors towards her.  As for your hurt feelings when she goes directly to your staff and wanting your staff to go directly to her, remember that she may have her own reasons.  Does she get better, quicker or accurate information when she does this?  This is a subject for self-confrontation, not self-defense.  In self-confrontation you ask yourself honestly:  Am I the cause of her going directly to my staff?  What is the quality of my work?  Am I meeting deadlines?

Request her for an appointment for a meeting and set a goal in your mind for such a meeting, i.e., to establish lines of communication.  If she asks you “What for?” you can simply say, “I’d like to consult you, Ma’am, on some important matters about my work.”  And say this respectfully.

Be prepared beforehand with what you will tell and ask her.  Review your position description, your responsibilities and authority.  List down what you want her to clarify.

At the start of your talk make sure you have a happy countenance by thinking of her positively and perceiving her as an asset, not a problem.   Start by thanking her for promoting you to supervisor and that you want to do your best to live up to her expectations.  This is why you want to clarify certain matters.

Ask her for feedback on how she finds your performance.  Then clarify with her each item in your list that you want to take up.  Ask her where she wants you to improve some more.  Take down notes.  Then do what she wants you to do.

If after you’ve done the above, she still behaves the way she does, you just have to “dance with the music”, as the cliché goes.  You can not change her habits.  You can not change her management style.  That is the culture she wants in her department.  You just have to take her as she is and make the adjustments yourself since you write that your company is an “ideal one” and that you don’t want to resign.

Pray to God to transform her and to give you the grace to change yourself.  God bless you.

 

 

Josie O. Santamaria