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HAVING PROBLEM WITH THE BOSS II

May 30th, 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

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

HAVING A PROBLEM WITH THE BOSS

May 9th, 2010 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

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

MR. CONFUSED

April 28th, 2010 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

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

MR. BETTER OFF WORKING ALONE

February 28th, 2010 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

I’m an introvert.  I prefer to work by myself rather than with others.  In fact, I do excellent work when I work alone to do a task.  As much as possible, I avoid interactions with my fellow workers in our section.  This has been an issue with my supervisor who, in exasperation, now directs me to meet with two co-employees and come to a consensus before I submit any report to her.  They, in turn, also meet with me before they turn in their respective reports.  The problem is most of the time, my two peers don’t add anything of value to what I already know.  In fact, what irritates me is their lack of listening and their constant use of their cellphones when we have our so-called meetings.

So I want to get your advice on how I can convince my supervisor that there is no need for meetings because my reports do not reflect any more value as a result of such meetings.

 

Mr. Better Off Working Alone

 

If you continue with the mindset and attitude you now have, I agree with you that your “meeting” will have no added value to your reports.  In fact, it is not a meeting at all with the three of you not having a free flow and exchange of ideas and coming to a substantial agreement on the content of your discussion.  You have convinced yourself that you are better off working by yourself and that your peers do not contribute anything of value to your reports.  Thus, you have shut them off although you go through the process of having a “meeting” in compliance with your boss’ directives.  You are not aware of the fact that this attitude of yours can be seen in your facial expression, gestures and posture when you interact with your two co-employees during such meetings.  They react by not showing attentive behaviors which in turn, reinforce your mindset of the uselessness of meetings and exasperates you even more.

You should not ever attempt to change your supervisor’s suggestion and to leave you alone.  Teamwork is obviously a corporate value in your organization as it is in others.  You don’t justify your personal preference by reasoning out that you are an introvert.  The truth is that you can change your nature i.e., being an introvert, by changing your behaviors and attitudes, and being motivated to do this.

An effective meeting facilitates the process of discussing issues that require brainstorming of ideas, disseminating new information and getting reactions to them, and gathering information.  As leader of a meeting, you facilitate the traffic or flow of ideas.  A good meeting results in better quality of outputs.  When people work together in teams to achieve common objectives, they achieve far better results than one individual, no matter how brilliant, can do working alone.  This phenomenon is referred to as synergy.  Once you’re convinced of the benefits of a good meeting as a means of having synergy, you can now change your behaviors.  Socialize by talking and going for lunch with one co-employee at a time.  Have positive thoughts about your interaction.  Instead of thinking “I got nothing from my interaction”, think rather “I learned something from talking with _____”.  Repeat the positive thoughts and the social interactions until habits are formed.

To change your mindset and attitudes towards meetings and your behaviors during meetings, try the following:

1.      Recall what your supervisor quite possibly had told you about the value of meetings:  the free exchange of ideas stimulate more ideas such that each of you is able to see things that you did not see before.  You build on each other’s ideas.  This is how synergy is created.

2.      I suppose you are not the leader of the team.  If it is your turn to call your other two co-employees for a meeting, make sure you are prepared with (a) an objective for the meeting; (b) an agenda, which is the framework of your meeting; and (c) a time frame.  The time frame conditions your two co-employees to make use of discussion time well.

3.      At the start of the meeting, take the lead by expressing the norms you will abide by:  (a) that you will listen when the others speak and that when it is your turn to speak, you hope the others will listen as well; (b) you will put your cell phone on silent mode and keep it away to prevent you from getting distracted.  Then state the objective of your meeting, the agenda and the timeframe.

4.      Be a role model of attentive listening.  When a co-employee speaks, listen with interest.  Paraphrase what he/she has said.

5.      At the end of the meeting, wrap up or summarize the ideas presented and conclusions reached.  Tell them that you will use their inputs in completing and enhancing your report.  Thank them and show happiness in your voice and on your face.

We are not slaves of our nature.  We can change our nature by changing our thoughts, our feelings and our behaviors.  Change the negative into positive thoughts, feelings and behaviors.  Reward yourself with a “pat on your back” plus a feeling of achievement when you are able to do this.

God bless you.

 

Josie O. Santamaria

HAVING MORE SENIOR SUBORDINATES

January 31st, 2010 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

I’m a newly promoted supervisor with eight people working under me.  Three of them are 5-10 years older and more senior to me in terms of number of years in the company.  It is with the latter that I feel very uncomfortable.  I don’t know how to deal with them especially when they are passive during meetings, or ask me for the basis of my decisions.

Please help me by giving me some useful how-tos.

Mr. Bagito

 

 

You feel uncomfortable dealing with these three senior employees because your being younger than they, and junior to them, is eroding your self-confidence.

The following tips may be useful to you to bolster your self-confidence:

  1. Our thoughts affect our feelings.  To develop your self-confidence in relating with your direct reports, have the following positive but true thoughts about yourself:

-        Though you are younger, you were the one chosen by management for promotion..

-        Management recognized your competencies and your track record of consistent performance.

-        Management recognized your potentials for leadership and your promotion to supervisor is an opportunity to show your leadership and to develop it further.

  1. During your meetings, encourage participation of all your eight subordinates.

-        Solicit inputs (opinions, suggestions etc.) from all of them.

-        Avoid focusing your attention on the senior employees in your desire to impress/please them.  Act naturally towards them and relate to them as you do with the others.

-        If the senior employees remain passive during meetings despite your efforts to solicit inputs from them, just let them be.

-        Before the meeting ends, summarize the points taken up and the decisions made.  If your subordinates were given a chance to voice out their opinions and suggestions, they can’t question the decisions made.  The decisions were the group’s.

You might benefit from reading materials or browsing the internet for more tips on how to handle meetings efficiently.  Added knowledge will boost your self-confidence.

3.      Learn the science and art of supervision.  Attend a company-sponsored training program on Supervision.  If there is none forthcoming, you can attend one, paid out from your own pocket.  Read a good book and/or browse the internet on supervision.  Know the technical skills of planning, organizing and controlling.  Know the emotional competencies required for effective leadership.  Practice them.  Knowing the skills and practicing them at appropriate times will boost your self-confidence.

Even experienced supervisors/managers always benefit form training and reading if they are open to learning.  Learning is continuous and life-long.

4.      You are now a supervisor, not a “super” worker.  As a supervisor, you produce results through your subordinates.  Know how each of them contributes to the outputs expected of your unit.

-        Clear with your own supervisor/manager the expected outputs/results of your unit and by when.  Know how your unit contributes to the outputs of his/her department.

-        Know how you and each of your eight subordinates contribute to your unit’s expected outputs/results.

-        Be clear about your role and the role of each of them.  Communicate these clearly to them.

-        Monitor the job performance of each one on a weekly basis.

5.      Give immediate feedback.

-        Be quick to give positive feedback for positive behaviors and for results delivered by your subordinates on schedule.  Ex:  “I like your report.  It is concise yet complete.”  When you say this, look at the person and smile.

-        Correct negative behaviors and failure to meet deadlines.  Do this in private.  There might be a tendency for you to turn a “blind eye” to the negative behaviors and failure to meet quality standards by your senior employees, out of fear or favor.  If you do this, you are showing to them that they have power over you.  Give constructive feedback in the form of reminders.  Ex:  “I’d like to remind you about minimizing the use of cellphone during office hours.”  “I want to remind you of our agreement that this report is due every Tuesday of the week.”

  1. Find time to talk to each of your subordinates to know them as workers and as persons.  Schedule a one-on-one with one person a week.  Look for the appropriate time.  Ask them how they find their work:  what they enjoy doing, what concerns they have, etc.  Look at pictures on their table.  Ask about their families. Having interactions with your employees will make you comfortable when you relate with them.
  2. Find time to coach your subordinate in areas where they need to grow.

-        Since you are a new supervisor, you may not know the responsibilities of each one.  Ask each of them what their responsibilities are and what they think of them.

-        Observe their job performance and evaluate their outputs to find out their areas for improvement and where you can coach them.

  1. To enhance your self-confidence, it is important that you give yourself a “pat on the back” each time you do the right things as a supervisor, such as being able to do any of the tips suggested above.

When you make mistakes, learn from them and do not commit them anymore.  Try not to brood over them.  Mistakes contribute to our wisdom.

Your growth and development as a supervisor can be fast-tracked if you know what knowledge and skills you need to acquire/enhance.  In this way your self-development efforts can be focused.

God bless you.

 

 

Josie O. Santamaria

MR. BAGITO

January 27th, 2010 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

I’m a newly promoted supervisor with eight people working under me.  Three of them are 5-10 years older and more senior to me in terms of number of years in the company.  It is with the latter that I feel very uncomfortable.  I don’t know how to deal with them especially when they are passive during meetings, or ask me for the basis of my decisions.

Please help me by giving me some useful how-tos.

Mr. Bagito

 

You feel uncomfortable dealing with these three senior employees because your being younger than they, and junior to them, is eroding your self-confidence.

The following tips may be useful to you to bolster your self-confidence:

  1. Our thoughts affect our feelings.  To develop your self-confidence in relating with your direct reports, have the following positive but true thoughts about yourself:

-        Though you are younger, you were the one chosen by management for promotion..

-        Management recognized your competencies and your track record of consistent performance.

-        Management recognized your potentials for leadership and your promotion to supervisor is an opportunity to show your leadership and to develop it further.

  1. During your meetings, encourage participation of all your eight subordinates.

-        Solicit inputs (opinions, suggestions etc.) from all of them.

-        Avoid focusing your attention on the senior employees in your desire to impress/please them.  Act naturally towards them and relate to them as you do with the others.

-        If the senior employees remain passive during meetings despite your efforts to solicit inputs from them, just let them be.

-        Before the meeting ends, summarize the points taken up and the decisions made.  If your subordinates were given a chance to voice out their opinions and suggestions, they can’t question the decisions made.  The decisions were the group’s.

You might benefit from reading materials or browsing the internet for more tips on how to handle meetings efficiently.  Added knowledge will boost your self-confidence.

3.      Learn the science and art of supervision.  Attend a company-sponsored training program on Supervision.  If there is none forthcoming, you can attend one, paid out from your own pocket.  Read a good book and/or browse the internet on supervision.  Know the technical skills of planning, organizing and controlling.  Know the emotional competencies required for effective leadership.  Practice them.  Knowing the skills and practicing them at appropriate times will boost your self-confidence.

Even experienced supervisors/managers always benefit form training and reading if they are open to learning.  Learning is continuous and life-long.

4.      You are now a supervisor, not a “super” worker.  As a supervisor, you produce results through your subordinates.  Know how each of them contributes to the outputs expected of your unit.

-        Clear with your own supervisor/manager the expected outputs/results of your unit and by when.  Know how your unit contributes to the outputs of his/her department.

-        Know how you and each of your eight subordinates contribute to your unit’s expected outputs/results.

-        Be clear about your role and the role of each of them.  Communicate these clearly to them.

-        Monitor the job performance of each one on a weekly basis.

5.      Give immediate feedback.

-        Be quick to give positive feedback for positive behaviors and for results delivered by your subordinates on schedule.  Ex:  “I like your report.  It is concise yet complete.”  When you say this, look at the person and smile.

-        Correct negative behaviors and failure to meet deadlines.  Do this in private.  There might be a tendency for you to turn a “blind eye” to the negative behaviors and failure to meet quality standards by your senior employees, out of fear or favor.  If you do this, you are showing to them that they have power over you.  Give constructive feedback in the form of reminders.  Ex:  “I’d like to remind you about minimizing the use of cellphone during office hours.”  “I want to remind you of our agreement that this report is due every Tuesday of the week.”

  1. Find time to talk to each of your subordinates to know them as workers and as persons.  Schedule a one-on-one with one person a week.  Look for the appropriate time.  Ask them how they find their work:  what they enjoy doing, what concerns they have, etc.  Look at pictures on their table.  Ask about their families. Having interactions with your employees will make you comfortable when you relate with them.
  2. Find time to coach your subordinate in areas where they need to grow.

-        Since you are a new supervisor, you may not know the responsibilities of each one.  Ask each of them what their responsibilities are and what they think of them.

-        Observe their job performance and evaluate their outputs to find out their areas for improvement and where you can coach them.

  1. To enhance your self-confidence, it is important that you give yourself a “pat on the back” each time you do the right things as a supervisor, such as being able to do any of the tips suggested above.

When you make mistakes, learn from them and do not commit them anymore.  Try not to brood over them.  Mistakes contribute to our wisdom.

Your growth and development as a supervisor can be fast-tracked if you know what knowledge and skills you need to acquire/enhance.  In this way your self-development efforts can be focused.

God bless you.

 

Josie O. Santamaria

IMPATIENT FOR PROMOTION

January 10th, 2010 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

I graduated two years ago, with honors, from a very good university.  I’ve been fortunate to have been working since then in a great company where I like the people and they like me, too, and I get a good compensation package.  I know I want to build my career here in my company now.

About six months ago, I was told confidentially by the boss of my boss that I’m one of the high potential young people.  His parting words to me were “You have a great future here in the company.”  You can just imagine how happy and excited this made me feel!

Since then, I’ve been expecting that I’d be receiving training and development programs to prepare me for a good position “up” there.  Nothing of this sort has happened.  What shall I do?  I’m embarrassed to go to my boss’ boss to ask him what I should do to be promoted for fear that I’d be giving him the impression that I’m impatient (although in reality I am).  Some of my peers in the university are now occupying supervisory/managerial positions.  I’m in a quandary.  Please advise me what I should do now.

Mr. In A Quandary

 

 

I can see that you need to manage your expectations so that your impatience will not give the wrong signals to your superiors and to your peers.  In fact your impatience can even affect your productivity now because your mind is focused on the future such that you may be neglecting some areas in your current work that needs your quality time.

Being told by the boss of your boss that you are a “high potential young person” has given you a confidence boost and you are now disappointed that nothing is being done to prepare you for the next level.

I suggest that you stop comparing yourself with your peers because it will only make you bitter or vain.  Also, that you stop looking at other pastures to see if the grass is greener there.  In reality you don’t know the working conditions and the culture in other organizations.  You yourself said that you like the people in the company and they like you in return, and that you are getting a good compensation package.

Since you’ve been in your current job in the company for only two years you should concentrate on doing a great job and learning as much as you can..  This requires that you —

  • know the standards of each task required by your current position so that you can exert efforts to exceed these standards;
  • know your boss’ expectations of you.  To do this requires that you get regular feedback from him on what you are doing right and what you need to improve on;
  • are able to manage your position’s workload as  agreed on with your boss;
  • are able to work well with others in your team and you are able to build rapport with your internal customers, i.e. your co-employees who need your inputs and with your fellow team members whose inputs you need for your outputs ;
  • sharpen your analytical skills to be able to handle problems effectively
  • enhance your communication skills  (written and oral).
  • acquire mastery of technical skills needed in your current job;
  • etc.

Your career goal must be clear to you and this must be stated in SMART terms, i.e. specific, measureable, attainable, relevant to your values, and time bound.  An example of a SMART goal:  I want to be successful in a sales career.  By the end of 2011, I’m occupying the position of District Sales Manager and performing and doing the function of this position according to standards.  After having a clear career goal, you can take a risk by going to your boss to ask him if he thinks that your career goal is realistic and if he agrees with it.  To do this requires that you wait for the “psychological moment”, perhaps during your boss’ performance appraisal of you when he/she discusses with you areas for improvement and your developmental needs.

If you find your boss receptive to your career goal, you can ask him for help in identifying the competencies you need to develop for your advancement to the next level.  He can even offer to be your mentor in his area of expertise.  Don’t ask him to be your mentor;  let him volunteer.

Perhaps you can find the “psychological moment” also to talk with your boss’ boss to thank him for considering you a “high potential young person” and about having told you that you had “a great future in the company”.  You can perhaps ask him what he thinks would be your career path in the company and what you need to do to develop and improve on so that you can match the job requirements.

It’s desirable to have a career goal so that you can have focus and your self-development efforts have a direction.  Don’t wait for the company to put you in training and development programs.  Initiate you own development thru the following:

  • enroll in training programs offered in-house or in public seminars, even funded from your own pocket;
  • be alert to cross posting assignments that may be offered to you.  This will enable you to broaden your work experience and acquire more skills;
  • accept additional workload or additional assignments given to you, if you can reasonably tackle them.  This will reflect well on your positive attitudes as well as a source of additional learnings;
  • observe the work behaviors and attitudes of successful employees in your company including your own boss and your boss’ boss.  They are your role models;
  • be open to coaching by your boss and express appreciation for his time in doing so.

God bless you.

 

Josie O. Santamaria

MR. IN A QUANDRY

January 6th, 2010 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

I graduated two years ago, with honors, from a very good university.  I’ve been fortunate to have been working since then in a great company where I like the people and they like me, too, and I get a good compensation package.  I know I want to build my career here in my company now.

About six months ago, I was told confidentially by the boss of my boss that I’m one of the high potential young people.  His parting words to me were “You have a great future here in the company.”  You can just imagine how happy and excited this made me feel!

Since then, I’ve been expecting that I’d be receiving training and development programs to prepare me for a good position “up” there.  Nothing of this sort has happened.  What shall I do?  I’m embarrassed to go to my boss’ boss to ask him what I should do to be promoted for fear that I’d be giving him the impression that I’m impatient (although in reality I am).  Some of my peers in the university are now occupying supervisory/managerial positions.  I’m in a quandary.  Please advise me what I should do now.

Mr. In A Quandary

 

 

I can see that you need to manage your expectations so that your impatience will not give the wrong signals to your superiors and to your peers.  In fact your impatience can even affect your productivity now because your mind is focused on the future such that you may be neglecting some areas in your current work that needs your quality time.

Being told by the boss of your boss that you are a “high potential young person” has given you a confidence boost and you are now disappointed that nothing is being done to prepare you for the next level.

I suggest that you stop comparing yourself with your peers because it will only make you bitter or vain.  Also, that you stop looking at other pastures to see if the grass is greener there.  In reality you don’t know the working conditions and the culture in other organizations.  You yourself said that you like the people in the company and they like you in return, and that you are getting a good compensation package.

Since you’ve been in your current job in the company for only two years you should concentrate on doing a great job and learning as much as you can..  This requires that you —

  • know the standards of each task required by your current position so that you can exert efforts to exceed these standards;
  • know your boss’ expectations of you.  To do this requires that you get regular feedback from him on what you are doing right and what you need to improve on;
  • are able to manage your position’s workload as  agreed on with your boss;
  • are able to work well with others in your team and you are able to build rapport with your internal customers, i.e. your co-employees who need your inputs and with your fellow team members whose inputs you need for your outputs ;
  • sharpen your analytical skills to be able to handle problems effectively
  • enhance your communication skills  (written and oral).
  • acquire mastery of technical skills needed in your current job;
  • etc.

Your career goal must be clear to you and this must be stated in SMART terms, i.e. specific, measureable, attainable, relevant to your values, and time bound.  An example of a SMART goal:  I want to be successful in a sales career.  By the end of 2011, I’m occupying the position of District Sales Manager and performing and doing the function of this position according to standards.  After having a clear career goal, you can take a risk by going to your boss to ask him if he thinks that your career goal is realistic and if he agrees with it.  To do this requires that you wait for the “psychological moment”, perhaps during your boss’ performance appraisal of you when he/she discusses with you areas for improvement and your developmental needs.

If you find your boss receptive to your career goal, you can ask him for help in identifying the competencies you need to develop for your advancement to the next level.  He can even offer to be your mentor in his area of expertise.  Don’t ask him to be your mentor;  let him volunteer.

Perhaps you can find the “psychological moment” also to talk with your boss’ boss to thank him for considering you a “high potential young person” and about having told you that you had “a great future in the company”.  You can perhaps ask him what he thinks would be your career path in the company and what you need to do to develop and improve on so that you can match the job requirements.

It’s desirable to have a career goal so that you can have focus and your self-development efforts have a direction.  Don’t wait for the company to put you in training and development programs.  Initiate you own development thru the following:

  • enroll in training programs offered in-house or in public seminars, even funded from your own pocket;
  • be alert to cross posting assignments that may be offered to you.  This will enable you to broaden your work experience and acquire more skills;
  • accept additional workload or additional assignments given to you, if you can reasonably tackle them.  This will reflect well on your positive attitudes as well as a source of additional learnings;
  • observe the work behaviors and attitudes of successful employees in your company including your own boss and your boss’ boss.  They are your role models;
  • be open to coaching by your boss and express appreciation for his time in doing so.

God bless you.

 

Josie O. Santamaria

MS. STRESSED OUT

November 29th, 2009 | Posted by josantamaria in Articles - (0 Comments)

I should be happy that I’m part of the 40% that survived the re-structuring of our company last year but this has come to mean that I’m multi-tasked, doing the work of 2-3 employees and reporting to two different bosses.  I’m stressed out.  The price of being retained has been the absence of family/home/work balance.  Going home at 7 pm or 8 pm is now routine and yet there is no additional compensation.  What shall I do to survive alive since giving up my job with four children in school is no option for me?

Mrs. Stressed Out

 

Multi-tasking is a fact of corporate life that employees, of all levels in most organizations, need to accept and around which they need to adjust their personal and family lives.  Survivors of corporate restructuring like yourself may have little or no time for other important things.  They need, however, to be creative and resourceful.

 

Let’s first tackle the issue of stress.  Several people can be in the same situation but will have different responses to it due to varied stress levels aroused by sources of stress.  If the experience of stress is extreme and intense, and persists for a long period of time, it can lead to serious illness: mental, emotional or physical or all three combined.

Causes of Stress. Stress is caused by either internal or external factors.  It is internal if it is aroused by our mental, emotional and physical conditions.  Example of a mental stressor is your negative thoughts about multitasking.  Emotional stressors are the negative feelings aroused by these negative thoughts.  In turn, these negative emotions lead to FIGHT or FLIGHT reactions, or both, such as complaining about your company’s policies, systems and structures; talking against people; etc.  Very soon you will experience symptoms of illness, such as allergies, diarrhea, palpitations, etc., that will justify being away from work, tardiness; absenteeism, and the like.

 

Physical conditions include state of health and cramming too many activities within a given time frame resulting in physical fatigue.  Not having an objective for the day, responding to the urgent, inability to say “no” to tasks given by your peers and non-assertiveness to your bosses about your priorities, etc., are the major reasons why you may feel drained and exhausted at the end of a work day.

 

External stressors are those coming from the environment such as answering 2-3 telephones which are ringing at the same time, demands of two bosses are conflicting; your co-team member’s request that you help her out on a task so she can finish it; etc.

 

The good news is that you have the ability to manage your internal and external stressors by exercising your freedom to choose.  You have a choice of looking at the glass as half-full or as half-empty.

Manage Your Thoughts and Feelings. Thoughts and perceptions affect your feelings and emotions which affect your reactions.  Feeding your mind with negative thoughts about multi-tasking, which you are doing now, would have you having these thoughts constantly in your mind:  “I’m so stressed out,” “I have so much work to do in such little time,” “My bosses are too demanding,” “I’m not being paid what I should be getting considering that I have so much to do,” “I have no more time for myself and for my family’ etc.  These thoughts will lead you to be overwhelmed by negative emotions of bitterness, resentment, anger, self-pity, agitation, worries, anxiety, depression, unhappiness, etc.  In turn, these feelings will lead you to self-defeating behaviors that reinforce your thoughts and feelings.  Examples of these behaviors are: complaining to your peers, to your family, etc., about the systems, procedures and people in the office; passive aggression or doing nothing when something is expected of you; etc.  Whatever little time you have with your family is filled with endless complaints, making them angry, too, and pitying you.  What do you get out of these?

On the other hand, your other choice is to look at the glass as half-full.  Wake up each day with joyful and grateful heart.  Upon waking up, thank God that you are alive and well, that you have your spouse who also has work enabling both of you to send your four children to school Thank God that you have a job and you have a company who values you and your service.

 

Have positive thoughts about multi-tasking.  Fill your mind with these thoughts: “I’m learning more and better skills to make me more valuable to my company,” “Each interaction with my boss and my team members are opportunities to grow in knowledge and increase my Emotional Quotient,” “The many skills that I have enhance my employability,” “God gives me good health and strength to do all the things that I need to do today,” etc.  You are reframing multitasking to see and appreciate it in a better light.  These positive thoughts will fill you with joy and happiness, gratitude, love, optimism, hope, enthusiasm, and energize you to be a positive person your co-team members will enjoy working with and a person with influence.  You will bring these joy and happiness with you in your interactions with your family.

Have Daily SMARTA Goals. Do not cram too many activities in a day.  You will benefit by buying and reading a time management book, and apply what you have learned from your reading.  One of these is to have SMARTA goals/objectives which you align with your bosses’ goals and objectives.  If they don’t have, you can show your objectives to them and get their inputs and/or agreement.

 

A SMARTA goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant (i.e., aligned with your boss’ goal and/or section/team objective), time-bound, and action-oriented.  Example:  By 12 noon today, I have called up 20 clients and have listed down their top three (3) priority concerns.  This work load gives you enough space for comfort room breaks, a 15-minute morning  break, allowance for time to be called by either or both your bosses for their needs, and so on.

 

Even with many tasks to do during the day, take one (1) minute to quiet down.  Close your eyes, breathe in and out as you relax and connect with God.  Offer what you are doing to Him and ask for His blessings.

 

Devote your primetime in the office for the achievement of your SMARTA objectives for the day.  Unless these is a meeting to attend, or a rush job given by your boss(es), call it a day by 6 pm or thereabout.  Come to office on time for work and report to your bosses your SMARTA objectives for the day.

Share Responsibilities At Home with Family. Talk over with your husband how you can help each other with supervision of children’s assignments/homework, and what task at home can be delegated to your children during the weekends.  It is important for children to develop good study habits early on so that they become responsible for their own studies later.

 

Some of the tasks at home can be delegated to your children so that they learn to be responsible for home management.  If you and your family take the same car or you commute together, these are opportunities to pleasant interactions.  Spend week-end wholly and entirely with your family, enjoying your interactions.  You can be creative and resourceful when your resource — time — is limited.

All the above will help you learn new positive behaviors and habits of effectiveness.

 

God bless you.

 

Josie O. Santamaria