A question for ya: Three tips for your boss

QuestionI have yet another question for ya: What three tips would you give your boss? What would you like him or her to do, stop doing, change, say, not say?

Write a comment, I’d really like to know!

23 thoughts on “A question for ya: Three tips for your boss”

  1. 1. Stop the power struggles with the other managers. This gives a fairly poor vision of the management team to anyone else in the company, and leads to such inane decisions and choice that everyone suffers from them.

    2. You should understand that since you’ve not exerted your own technical skills since a few years, you may not always rely on them. Be critic with yourself, and learn to place some trust in your team skills.

    3. When possible, try to expose the rationale behind some of your decisions to the people who will be in charge of executing them. Knowing *why* you have to do something is often has much important as knowing what to do.

  2. 1. Be strong. There’s nothing worse than looking like you might crumble under the pressure, or that you doubt your own decisions.

    2. Be involved, or be quiet. A boss that occasionally pops in for a word of advice on a topic or situation he or she doesn’t understand is a boss that’s wasting everyone’s time.

    3. Give direction. Let me know why I should be working hard, and what I should be working on. Provide constructive criticism (so long as you obey #2).

  3. 1. Stop playing favourites. I get it, he’s your friend, you see each other out of work, but why does that mean he gets the pick or projects and all the other benefits no one else gets?

    2. Learn our products. If your the project manager, learn the projects inside and out. Don’t just be a, bad, traffic cop between us and the clients.

    3. Setup some best practice. The hacks who write completly unsupportable code write the code quickly, then some poor sucker gets stuck supporting it, and landing in trouble when it breaks. Make a better attempt to get things write first time. Its all about quallity control!!

  4. 1) Hire talented people only. Passion is a must. (This is not very doable in an outsourcing company though)
    2) Give programmers plenty of office space (Hardly doable in an outsourcing company)
    3) Encourage people to learn by building career plans together. You know, programmers are not exactly sociable animals, so make the whole shit funnier.

  5. 1) stand up for us; advocate for our needs and back us when we get the runaround from other parts of the organization.

    2) set priorities. once we’ve talked out everything as a group, and you’ve heard all the ideas & opinions, it’s up to you to point the direction we need to go.

    3) deal with the slacker. most of us are working pretty hard and doing good work; when there’s one person who isn’t, and who doesn’t feel any consequences, it’s demoralizing to everybody.

  6. 1. Stop comming over and asking “so are we doing ok this week? On top of all the work?” When he really doesn’t want to hear the answer, especially when its “No”, or he’s not going do anything about it anyway.

    2. Trust you employees and don’t treat them like idiots. Actually give them some responsibility, for their own work would be a good start, actually having some trust in the answers they give or what they do.

    3. Bringing in doughnuts once a week does not magaically improve motivation, employee emotional state or our opinon of him

    These are only the first three that spring to mind!

  7. 1) Yes, stand up for us when we get pushed around by other departments, and by clients. When you get pushed around too and succumb to their irrational demands, it just makes me want to kick the sh*ts out of you.

    2) And please tell us what you say to clients. When you told us that they can’t do A, and then the client goes behind our backs and ask you, you tell them yes, they can do A. The client knows you’re soft. So they did it and got what they want. But you didn’t tell us about it, and we end up looking stupid when they say, “No. Your boss said A was ok.” You want us to look “professional” and “on top of everything”? Just tell us what you said to them!

    3) When other departments have interpersonal problems and fight amongst themselves, so much so that they can’t get work done, you say that we have to help them by taking up their work. Huh! So perhaps my co-workers and I should start fighting too and then we won’t have to do our own work?!

  8. 1. Give me goals, not tasks. More accurately, let me commit to goals. (I may not commit to all the goals you would like to see achieved.) But don’t give me tasks to do. Let me figure out how to meet the goals I’ve committed to, how to overcome the problems, what steps to take on the way there.

    2. Give me frequent, constructive feedback. This includes affirming feedback as well as corrective feedback. Make sure it’s constructive, that it helps me do my job better, as I see it. But don’t let it be about what you think, because I don’t care what you think. Give feedback, if possible, on the same day as the event that inspired the feedback. Never wait until performance-review time to chime in on 20 different areas, thinking that this will achieve anything other than to get me to look for another job.

    3. Improve your people skills; improve your management skills. Management is more about people than about administration. As an engineer, you could afford to be weak in the soft skills, people skills. Now you’re a manager, and you should be gaining wisdom in all the skills that could make you a great manager. As your direct report, when I evaluate you (as we all do, whether we admit it or not), I should see a distinct improvement in your management ability. I should be able to see that you’re a better manager today than you were a year ago.

  9. 1. say thank you for a job well done. So some appreciation for an employee who goes above and beyond. In the same vein, let your employee know when they are doing something that you are not happy with. If they don’t know its a problem, they have no way to correct it. Firing them without letting them know what they did wrong, doesn’t help either of you.

    2. don’t say one thing and do another. don’t ask for an opinion if you really won’t even take it into consideration.

    3. keep your employees aware of the things that are pertinent to their job and leave them out of things that have nothing to do with them.

    I could really go on and on and on…

  10. 1. Don’t cheap out on technical support. Our computer network, hardware, software, training, etc. is a foundation of the business without which everything else fails. Without adequate human skilled support for it, employees and bosses waste huge amounts of time and experience a level of frustration that results in good people leaving. Provide the basic technical tools we need to function at a reasonable capacity.

    2. Recognize that just because you have a degree in your skill and are my boss doesn’t mean that I’m less intelligent and that my skill is less respectable. Without my skill your business doesn’t work very well so please respect and appreciate my skill as I do yours. Don’t second guess my expertise. I don’t second-guess yours.

    3. Involve support staff in the big picture. We’re the best marketing tool you have and yet you don’t give us enough information with which we can gush about our place of work and it’s vision and accomplishments to friends, family, neighbours, acquaintances, etc. Good things that I could brag about happen here and yet nobody shares that information outside the upper circles and so the marketing potential is lost and we often don’t even hear about how we contributed to your business success. Opportunities for improved morale and enthusiasm are thoughtlessly squandered.

  11. Ahh, the pain, I love it. Help me to be a better manager, even if it hurts me!

    Now go back, everyone, an re-read these comments, but this time, instead of assuming they are truths you’d want your manager to know/hear, imagine instead they are what your children expect of you as their parent.

    Ouch, a bit close to home?

  12. No “ouch” at all, Anthony. I wouldn’t think of treating my kids the way employers here treat their staff.

  13. 1. Don’t promote a person who has never been a supervisor before to the position only to tell that person ” I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but maybe I just don’t feel like training”.

    2. Don’t agree to send parts of our jobs over to India and then compare us to them by stating “India is smarter than this team” and when we don’t stop complaining about the extra workload we took on due to India’s mistakes (they’re learning-and super intelligent) don’t shit on us by making up a critical and non-critical error system to tally both sides mistakes…to make it FAIR. e.g. If we don’t highlight a credit memo…it’s DOCUMENTED and we’re sent DAILY error reports!! Anyone else think this is stupid?

    3. Don’t criticize the new supervisor, make the person feel like they can’t do anything right, micromanage everything the person does, and then get mad and hold a GRUDGE against that person when he/she goes to personnel to tell their side of the story.

    4. When micromangement in a family,,,what happens to kids?

  14. I was promoted to Supervisor. I make the employee schedule. I had a troubled employee who was a No Call No Show so she now gets less hours on the schedule I created. I showed it to my boss who agreed till that employee seen it and complained to him. My boss then came to me and wanted me to give her more hours. How do I express to my boss…”You give me a responsibility to run a department but you wont back me up on my decisions after en employee comes to you to complain?”

  15. 1. Learn to spell.
    2. Having personal relationships at work is unprofessional and awkward for everyone else.
    3. Fess up and admit you have another job and stop trying to use what everyone does here over there-JUST LEAVE US AND WORK AT YOUR OTHER JOB! Everyone else is doing your work anyway! WE DONT NEED YOU!

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