Words, Ideas, Stuff
Some ideas and thoughts, captured with the view to help you.
Words, Ideas, Stuff
Some ideas and thoughts, captured with the view to help you.
There’s a well-known saying that we join organisations, but we leave managers.
Research conducted by Gallup, Inc. supports the statistics from Kenexa and Forbes. They go on to quantify the qualities employees want in a manager. The top four are:
If you’re not getting these things, does this make your manager a bad manager?
Unfortunately it’s not as clear cut. There’s a spectrum and it can be quite obvious at each end of this spectrum as to what a good manager looks like and what a complete a-hole is like, but there’s a murky middle and a wide range of styles and actions that can impact you and your performance.
That means it’s up to you to decide where the line is for you to thrive, whether you can shape it to get what you need, or when you need to bail.
This is a little tongue-in-cheek but JA Culture writes about bad bosses and the six toxic personas you might know.
1. Hawk-Eye (Micromanagement en mass)
2. Dictator of Expectations (Always searching for proof)
3. The Scream-ER (Reckless & retrospective)
4. Culture Undertaker (Careless about culture)
5. Manic Manipulator (Agent of passive aggression)
6. Captain Titanic (Living in the past)
It’s scary how quickly one or two people will jump to mind as you read that list. It seems so many business focus on developing technical skills yet it’s how someone manages a project or others, and ideally, their leadership style (firm believer that leading and managing are two different things), that ultimately determined sustained performance. Anyone can be an a-hole and push a team to deliver once, but that crew will hit eject as soon as they can, and those that are unable to, will drop in performance too. So it seems crazy how the average $1000 learning and development spend doesn’t go on helping people be great managers and leaders. I’ll save that soapbox session for another day, but will just give you an elbow in the ribs to ask for this kind of training when you’re in the space to do so, it’s invaluable and even if you’re ace at it, there will always be a new tidbit to take in and develop.
As this post has been forming, I’ve had several conversations with people in my world where they’ve been on the receiving end of really bad behaviour. One was in event management, the other in health. In both situations, the person with power, the manager, has behaved poorly. I would say in the event space they were a mix of 2,3,4 and 5 and in health it sounded like a lot of number seven which I’ll add to that list = the General of Goal Post Shifting.
Actually the event ones did that two. This General sets expectations and continues to change them and add to them so at some stage you’re over loaded and it’s muddy AF as to what the priorities are, all the time you feel like you’re failing as you never quite get it right and the days seem to short to get it all done.
If I had to distil it down, there were some commonalities with the managers making a lot of ‘you’ statements, not allowing time for discussion (assuming their view is correct), giving directives, and seemingly being focused on their own interests and perspectives.
Needless to say, both of these very capable women are considering new roles, one has actually been offered an awesome new role with a tech start-up where the early indicators are the founders behave like respectful, competent adults – the bare minimum of what’s required. Thankfully they also have a reputation for being good leaders too.
To help break down whether there’s a chance to work better with this person or whether it’s time to look elsewhere, here’s a couple of red and green flags to consider:
In 2019, Stuff shared a summary of the four worst habits of New Zealand managers Ralph Bathurst, a senior lecturer at Massey University’s book “The Good, The Bad and The Downright Ugly Side of New Zealand Business”, these need to be added to the watchlist above! They are:
There’s gems here too for each of us as we develop into management roles, to ensure we also develop the competencies that allow us to be good managers and lead engaged teams.
If you’re in a position where you’re dealing with those kinds of things, it’s up to you to make a call to stay and manage your manager so you’re able to work how you wish, address it directly by speak to them and asking for what you need or asking to understand why they’re taking that approach.
If they’re really toxic, get the hell outta there. Sadly, being treated like that will likely erode confidence and you’ll shrink under that kind of boss, where was work should atleast be tolerable, ideally enjoyable. Share your work experiences with people you trust to calibrate it, it’s often surprising how what you start tolerating as ‘normal’ is actually really toxic, and often those around us can reflect that back to us and help us see it’s not okay. It’s amazing when you have a manager who’s draped in green flags, your work and things outside of work are so much more manageable and enjoyable when you have that kind of support.
You’re worth it. If you need permission here it is - quit if you have to and keep quitting until you have a manager that manages well and you feel valued, engaged and supported to do great work.
“Clothes maketh the (hu)man”
This is an olde worlde quote that’s referenced as originating somewhere in 1400s, also attributed to Shakespeare and Mark Twain. Either way, it’s worth pondering as to how much importance this has in today’s world where some careers are virtual, some we shape as we design new teams and ventures, and as we have a blend of cultures in many spaces.
It seems there are no hard and fast rules as to what clothing is ‘right’, the best advice we have is where what you feel good in, and that is appropriate for the nature of the work you need to do - the old steel caps on a mine site is a classic no brainer, but outside the obvious health and safety requirements
When it comes to interviews or the likes, it can be nerve wracking. If you’re ever unsure, it’s okay to ask the recruiter or person you’re meeting with what the expectation is or what the organisational culture is. If all else fails, wear what YOU feel great in!
It does matter. Like it or not, as humans we’re curious and critical critters. First impressions are really important – first impressions are often lasting ones too so if you get it right, you can enjoy the benefits of the "halo effect." In other words, if you're viewed positively within those critical 4 minutes, the person you've just met will likely assume that everything you do is positive. The same is true of the reverse.
Within a mere 10 seconds, that person will begin to make judgments about our sense of professionalism, social class, morals, and intelligence. People focus first on what they see (dress, appearance, eye contact, movement). Next, they focus on what they hear (rate of speech, tone and volume, articulation). Finally, they focus on the actual words.
We’re not saying it’s good, or how it should be, it’s just how humans are wired. So it's a relevant reminder for any of us in the hiring seat to challenge ourselves to see beyond this, and when we’re in the hot seat, show up with your best attitude, prep and know that the packaging will be assessed too, so choice it, make it intentional and kick ass!
One of the super grey areas in today’s tech driven world is - how does social media fit with our personal brands, and with that of our employer* brands?
(*employer and workplace can be interchanged with causes you volunteer for, committees or groups you’re part of etc)
Society today is diverse, we move towns, countries and companies faster than ever before, which means (thankfully) workplaces today are (hopefully!) more diverse. Not only do diverse workforces include people of different ages, cultures and races, they will also include diversity of thought (hurrah!). That usually means that thought diversity may well include a wide range of views on the use of, and opinions on, social media personally and for business, or while at work.
While the definition of ‘at work’ is now more varied than ever (compare the ‘workplace’ of a park ranger with that of an entrepreneur!), the only sense-check should be with that of your employer. The entity that pays your salary, that you have agreed to perform certain tasks and duties for, is the only view that matters as that’s the one that could land you in hot water if you unintentionally breach the policies. A heads up — it might be different to your own view so it does pay to check).
Initiating the conversation, being proactive about checking what their view is, is a safe guard for you so you don’t inadvertently cross a line or share a trade secret while using tools and tech you enjoy. Check with the company and your manager on their policy and preferences for using social while at work and what content may/may not be shared via social networks — some companies greatly encourage their crew to share their own work, insights and work stories online, others will be at the other end of the scale.
There’s a lot of chat about the risks of social at work, certain industries are of course more focused on protecting their ideas, IP and privacy, so do consider this. If you’ve not come across this before, here’s the view many organisations and entities have — social activity, however innocent it may seem, can impact the brand and reputation, and scary to note that some hackers use social intel to aid criminal activity. So you can see why it’s a big deal for many brands!
Businesses need good social media policies to manage risk, and in 2017, it was reported that the Marsh Directors’ Survey of Risk shows that “62% of respondents expect the increasing influence of social media will affect their business over the next 12 months. It ranked ahead of other risks such as problems with talent attraction and retention.” So it’s likely on the radar of the organisation, and if it’s not, it should be!
If you think the policy is outdated or there’s not one, you can be a change maker and evaluate what the up and downside could be, and shape a new view. Be sure to include what content is and isn’t okay to share, and what to do if the proverbial shxt hits the fan!
When looking at examples of policies, GAP’s one is always touted, Hire Rabbit is reported to say:
While we’re chatting about GAP (pls note this is not an endorsement, nor is Careering in any way affiliated with them) but through doing our research we know they also have some great content on their careers section that aligns perfectly with the messages in this book about knowing, and asking for, your worth. So here’s another excerpt from them …
“IT’S OBVIOUS WHEN 21% OF YOUR OUTFIT IS MISSING. BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN 21% OR MORE OF YOUR PAYCHECK IS MISSING?
That’s the reality for most women across the U.S. who earn, on average, 79 cents to every dollar men make.
And for non-white women, it can be even worse — African American women, on average,
earn 60 cents compared to every dollar men make, and Latina women earn approximately 55 cents.
Many millennial women don’t think the gender pay gap applies to them.
But even if you’re a woman at the start of your career, statistics show that the gender pay gap is likely to impact you.
This is concerning — especially because the pay gap widens as you progress through your career.”
While their research is US based, there’s a lot of merit to it and the insights do reflect global trends. You can read more here and complete their calculator which shows you just how much money you stand to lose over the course of your career if you’re paid that 21% less (the US average is $450,000 less than male equivalents. That’s an apartment in Auckland, or a mansion in Westport! While your circumstances may differ, we just wanna say that equal pay for an equal day’s work just makes sense.
Anywho, back to social. Social media can be a powerful tool, especially for businesses that embrace and channel everyone’s enthusiasm. Hubspot data shows that content shared from employee’s personal social accounts about the brand or entity, can achieve 8x more engagement. Reebok have really embraced this - check out their #fitasscompany content.
The trick to making this work for your startup, community or company is to be clear about the same things mentioned above: Be sure to include what content is and isn’t okay to share, and what to do if the proverbial shxt hits the fan! It’s also great if you can drive a campaign to get everyone sharing the content, and track it with a hashtag like Reebook did.
When it comes to social media and the workplace, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ sorry. It all comes down to what’s appropriate for you and for the organisation, and for the situation. Safety and commonsense must come first, and this quote sums it up quite well what we mean here (excuse the language):
“Behind him, he heard Ronan say, "I like the way you losers thought Instagram before first aid. F**k off.”
― Maggie Stiefvater, Blue Lily, Lily Blue.