Do You Know How to Manage Your Boss?

Our guest blogger is Mary Schaefer, co-author of Character Based Leader.

Your relationship with your boss can be one of the most complicated relationships you have. It doesn’t have to be.

Whether you think you have a boss you can work with – or not – take charge making it work. After all, your boss’s opinion matters. His or her opinion has a significant impact on your earnings, your enjoyment of your work, and your future employment.

Look at the list below. Being clear on these points can be the difference between smooth sailing, or navigating rough seas with your boss.

  • Getting agreement on your work objectives and how they will be measured.
  • Knowing your boss’s hot buttons, e.g. what she always looks for, what he never asks about.
  • Addressing any proposal/concern you have in terms that influences your boss to buy-in.  In other words, make it clear what is in it for them and the organization.

So, you get your boss’s opinion. You may not agree with it. But that’s all good. You have more information now. You may conclude you need a different assignment or even a different employer. Knowledge is power. Being informed supports good decision-making.

Don’t take anything for granted.

You may find that you and your boss have experienced disconnects in the past. Looking at the list above, any one of those points could be at play, but are not being spoken or clarified. But now, using the right tools, you can get a common understanding of your job.

Depending on the kind of relationship you have with your boss, you can use the list above in any number of ways, like:

  • You can initiate a meeting. Take this list and say, “I realize these are things that I’ve taken for granted. I want to understand how you see them.”
  • You can bring up one point in particular. Your boss might keep focusing on one issue that you think you are addressing. Now that you look at this list, you might think, “You know, I bet that’s about interdependence. I ought to ask her perspective on that.”
  • You can keep these in your back pocket to bring up at an opportune moment or when you begin to observe that something is off.

Be the leader of your own career.

You own your career; no one will ever care about it as much as you do. We talk about managers and organizations creating environments of empowerment, but you have the ability to empower yourself. When I say this what I mean is for you to:

“Claim and embody your own authority, i.e. own your dreams, decisions, actions and impact.”

With the simple points in the list in this post, you can get clear now rather than pay a price later because you didn’t. Learn to show the value of your ideas and performance. Earn trust and credibility and set the stage for more opportunities.

You have a right to expect a lot from your boss, and you are not always going to get what you need. You are responsible for making the relationship work for you. You can do it.

To learn more about how to manage your boss, join our webinar with Mary Schaefer: How to Make Your Relationship With Your Boss Work For You.

The Story of the Unlikely Grassroots Movement That Saved a Beloved Business

TWO BUSINESS PHILOSOPHIES COLLIDE

In many ways, the story of Market Basket, a regional grocery chain in the northeast, is a familiar one: The heirs to a family business engage in a tug-of-war for control of the company. In this case, however, the community, including employees, managers and customers, responds with massive action in favor of one faction of the family over the other. They mobilize with protests, petitions (organizers of one last-minute petition hoped for a few hundred signatures; they received 40,000) and widespread boycotts by customers — not to hurt the company but to save it — making the battles of Market Basket unique in the annals of family-business history. As told engagingly in We Are Market Basket, written by marketing professor Daniel Korschun and newspaper reporter Grant Welker (who covered the contentious saga for the local Lowell Sun daily), the battle of Market Basket was not just a war between cousins but a fight between two opposing views of the purpose of business.

On one side is Arthur T. Demoulas, the son of Telemachus Demoulas, son of founders Athanasios and Efrosine Demoulas. On the other side is his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, son of George Demoulas, who is another son of the founders. At one point, brothers Telemachus and George ran the chain in harmony. There is no such harmony between their sons.

There are years of recriminations, lawsuits and board battles too complex to review here. However, for the authors, the core of the conflict is in two opposing business philosophies.

Serve the Stakeholders

For CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, the purpose of the company, write Korschun and Welker, was to serve the needs of the loyal low- to middle-income customers at the low-priced store. Following what is now known as a “stakeholder” view of business, Arthur T. ensured that the company fulfilled the needs and desires of its employees, served the communities in which its stores were located and even went the extra mile for its loyal vendors.

We Are Market Basket offers numerous stories of Arthur T.’s stakeholder philosophy. For example, Arthur T. not only empowered his employees but also took a personal interest in every employee: He once offered to pay to move a store director’s severely injured daughter to a better hospital. Instead of cutting off a vendor that had fallen on hard times, he helped the vendor restore his business.

The company also considers itself a corporate citizen and contributes millions to charities.

Or Serve the Shareholders

Arthur S. and his supporters, according to the authors, had a completely different view of the business: A company existed to make money for shareholders. Arthur S. disagreed with the large employee profit-sharing bonuses and other spending that didn’t benefit shareholders. When he gained control of the board, he and his supporters set out to fire Arthur T. and succeeded in June 2014.

The firing led to huge protests in the street, walkouts by employees and most managers and a wholesale boycott of the stores by customers — a revolt that grabbed the attention of the northeast media. In essence, all of the stakeholders that Arthur T. had supported for so many years united and shut down the company. The board finally relented; Arthur T. was restored.

Neither Arthur T. nor Arthur S. agreed to be interviewed for the book, but in some ways this only adds to the authenticity of the narrative. Many company books are written by the CEO, giving a perhaps overly simple and positive view of the company’s efforts. We Are Market Basket is written from the point of view of employees (known as “associates”), managers, vendors and customers. It is written by the “we” of the title and, for that reason, deserves to be carefully read by all managers who want to learn the secrets of a successful stakeholder strategy.

What Could You Learn From Our Latest Summaries?

Our September summaries are all about what is best for employees. Whether it’s corporate education, empowering employees through lean practices, or developing employee character, this set of summaries offers a wealth of information to strengthen your company.

 

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Learning to Succeed

Rethinking Corporate Education in a World of Unrelenting Change

by Jason Wingard
Corporate learning expert Jason Wingard proposes that to keep ahead of the competition, organizations should shift to embracing learning across the ranks and become dynamic learning organizations. With a dedication to learning initiatives, a company will be better equipped to make the decisions that will ensure its future.
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The Lean CEO

Leading the Way to World-Class Excellence

by Jacob Stoller
Many companies and CEOs are finding that to do more with less, that they can find solutions in Lean management techniques to deliver sustainable financial results, empower and motivate employees, break down internal silos and build solid partnerships with customers and suppliers. Journalist and facilitator Jacob Stoller explains the methodology by including in-depth interviews with CEOs who have established Lean as a corporate-wide management system.
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The Good Ones

Ten Crucial Qualities of High-Character Employees

by Bruce Weinstein
Ethics expert Bruce Weinstein presents 10 crucial qualities associated with high-character employees that can enhance employee satisfaction, client relationships and the bottom line. Character refers to the most important qualities that define a person’s identity and it is revealed not by words but by actions. The qualities are honesty, accountability, care, courage, fairness, gratitude, humility, loyalty, patience and presence.

If you’re a Soundview subscriber, check out your new titles in your online library today. And if not, click on a title to purchase it; or perhaps now is the time to Subscribe and get these great titles and much more to strengthen your leader skills.

How Managers Can Motivate by Creating Meaning

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Are your people giving in instead of giving their all? Have they quit, but stayed? Probably. According to a shocking Gallup poll, more than seven out of 10 American workers are disengaged, which hurts productivity, products and personal satisfaction. In fact, one in five are more committed to not doing their jobs than doing them.

In Make It Matter, Scott Mautz shows that the key to winning back the disengaged (and keeping the engaged, engaged) is by fostering meaning at work, that is, by giving work a greater sense of personal significance and, thus, making work matter. Distilling reams of research, case studies, stories and interviews with managers at great companies to work for, he unveils seven essential “Markers of Meaning” that can be triggered to create meaning in and at work.

He offers dozens of tools and specific plans to get your people to better commit and enjoy work as part of their lives, not an eight-hour departure from them. He also demonstrates how meaning starts with managers because if you’re not committed, no one else will be either. Most important, he draws a solid line from elevated meaning to higher profits, revenue growth and retention.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN

• Direction: Reframe work to add meaning and motivation, and help people discover a sense of significance and purpose in what they do.

• Discovery: Craft the richest kind of opportunities to learn, grow and influence, while helping people feel valued and valuable.

• Devotion: Cultivate an authentic, caring culture, master meaning-making leadership behaviors and drive out corrosive behaviors that can quietly and unknowingly drain meaning at work.

Not a Soundview Executive Book Summaries subscriber? Then click on the title to purchase and download it right now to begin learning these critical business skills.

 

Markers of Meaning

“The startling truth is that 70% of the workforce is disengaged – their bodies may put in long hours, but their hearts and minds never punch in.  You may even be one of those that’s searching for ways to make work really work for you.  This is a terrible dilemma for organizations trying to motivate employees to do more with less. So how to motivate the disengaged, and further engage the engaged?  It’s not pay, perks, or promotions.

The answer is to foster meaning at work, that is, give work a greater sense of personal significance, and thus, make work matter. “    Scott Mautz

Through his research, Mautz has discovered that specific Markers of Meaning exist, or unique conditions that create meaning in and at work. It’s possible to learn how to trigger each Marker of Meaning and inspire elevated performance and fulfillment that sustains over the long haul.

Markers of Meaning:

Direction

  1. Doing work that matters

Discovery

  1. Being congruently challenged
  2. Working with a heightened sense of competency and self-esteem
  3. Being in control and influencing decisions/outcomes

Devotion

  1. Working in a caring/authentic/teamwork-based culture
  2. Feeling connection with and confidence in leadership and the mission
  3. Being free from corrosive workplace behavior

Looking at this list of markers, I can see why such conditions would be motivators for engagement in any company or work environment. But how do we foster these markers of meaning in our organizations?

Join us on July 7th to learn how. We have invited Scott Mautz to present his findings and answers at our Soundview Live webinar How to Motivate By Creating Meaning. You’ll walk away equipped with a host of specific ideas, insight, and practical tools to help do so.