How Does Your Boss Compare… And What Can You Do About It?

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December 2019

Written by Adam Richardson (adam.richardson@arresourcing.com), Managing Director and Owner of AR Resourcing. Adam has 20 years’ experience recruiting preconstruction, procurement and commercial professionals across the built environment industries.

According to research a bad boss is cited as the main reason employees quit their job between 50% and 75% of the time. As the saying goes “People don’t leave a company they leave a manager.” 

THE REASONS A GOOD BOSS IS WORTH THEIR WEIGHT IN GOLD

A good boss makes a difference to both your wellbeing and your career prospects. They will act as a mentor and coach, offering support where it is needed without micromanaging. They will act as your sponsor ensuring you get credit for your work but will also take responsibility when things go wrong. Typically, good bosses are team players, looking to involve others and delegate. They are good both at listening and at communicating. And above all they treat you as a human being not as a number on a spreadsheet.

In other words, they will give you opportunities, support you, make you feel valued and ensure you get recognition. The correlation between good management and productivity is well documented – as you and your colleagues are more engaged and confident, you will produce better work, the team is more likely to get more interesting opportunities and you are therefore likely to progress faster. Furthermore, research shows the better the managers you work for, the more likely you are to become a good manager yourself. 

IT’S AS MUCH ABOUT YOU AS THEM

Just as some bosses are better than others, some employees are easier to manage than others. Any boss is likely to be more supportive of those people they can trust and who make their lives easier. Working hard is just one element of being a good report – being honest, taking ownership of problems and opportunities by offering solutions, paying attention to the detail and completing admin so your boss can focus on more important things, avoiding office politics and offering to help your boss and co-workers will all make you more valued. Essentially, to get the best out of your manager be positive and proactive rather than complaining or finding obstructions.

GOOD OR BAD, WORK ON THE RELATIONSHIP

As with any good relationship, issues are best addressed through early and honest communications. If you are finding the way your boss is managing you difficult think about why they are operating that way, and what you would realistically like them to change before broaching the issue with them in a constructive, unthreatening way. If the relationship is good, then keep on working at it to minimise the likelihood of that changing. 

MAKING THE BEST OF A BAD BOSS

Different people respond well to different management styles, however if you find you are struggling with your manager then start by trying to understand what it is about their behaviour that you don’t like and what causes them to behave that way – if you are able to avoid the triggers then this will minimise your stress. Irrespective, it is important to try to minimise them having a negative impact on the quality of your work – making them look bad will only make you look worse. 

If your boss is a micromanager anticipating what they are going to want and having those things ready, or at least a plan of how to execute them will minimise the opportunity for them to meddle and should grow their trust in you. If your boss isn’t consistent in what they expect from you then when they ask you for something, repeat it back to them and ask them to confirm that is what they are looking for. 

CHANGING JOBS

If you are moving jobs then you should prioritise your new boss on a level with salary. Your success will be linked to theirs and the opportunities for you to grow in the role will depend on them.

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