Your work is all about your manager

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Dec 18

ManagerMost employees think they are working for a company. Or a department in a company. Not so much.

When you work for a manager, you’re working for that person. Not for you, not for your team, not for your customer. You are working for your manager.

For all of the talk about flat organizations, 360-degree reviews, and wanting your input, the truth is you work for your manager.

Working for your manager has implications

You may have goals that you were assigned at the beginning of your review period that require work. And, even though those goals were assigned by your manager, your manager isn’t letting you work on the goals but on every emergency that comes up under the sun.

You may have a manager that changes the direction of your work — and disrupts your plan to build certain job skills.

You may want a position in a different department to advance your career. But your manager doesn’t think you are ready for the position just yet — or would hate to lose you because of all the emergencies under the sun given to you.

Or, you may have an incompetent — or worse — manager that doesn’t get what the group is trying to accomplish. And you have a tough time getting out because no one thinks you do good work because your manager’s work is so poor.

Bucking your manager usually doesn’t work

Unfortunately, your manager has too much power in the small work universe to have bucking your manager make good career sense. Too many ways to submarine you with other managers, discount good performance reporting by co-workers or dissing your work from other manager’s inquiries.

In short, there is an endless amount of possible conflict between what you want to do versus what your manager wants you to do.

You try and make it win-win, of course. And making your manager look good can go a long way to career disaster avoidance if not success.

But part of what makes a person working in a cube a Cubicle Warrior is the ability to assess their manager’s performance as well as their own. Then they decide if they can outlast the manager in a high-churn environment, can get out of the situation without a setback to their career, or decide it is time to leave the company and get a different job.

How do you evaluate if you have a good manager for your career?


About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.