Read through the literature and you'd think customers are the most important people on the planet. And they are. It's just that most people think someone other than their manager is the customer.
The reality is, however, that your manager is your most important customer. Here are three reasons why.
Your manager determines your raise and bonus
Might as well start out with money, right? It is your manager that writes your performance review (unless you help write the performance review...) and defends your performance in calibration sessions.
It is your manager that supports your case for your performance when the manager decides your rating and pay. If your manager's perception of your work doesn't meet the right standard, your manager can decide through a layoff or performance program that you don't deserve any pay.
So if the money you earn from your job is an important factor in why you work, doesn't it make sense to ensure your manager should be treated as your most important customer?
Your manager influences your career
After performance reviews, your manager has a great deal of influence with other managers about your perceived value to the organization. Want to transfer to a different department? Your manager will decide. Interviewing for a promotion with a different manager? The other manager will call your current manager and listen carefully to what is said.
Do you think a different manager will select you if your manager doesn't provide the right recommendation? It makes sense to make sure your manager is your most important customer.
Your manager spreads your perceived personal brand throughout the department or company
If you do the 3 things that will make your manager worship you, you will have a significantly different personal brand than if you don't.
That perceived brand makes a difference. Want that great new project dangling out there and the project lead asks your manager your availability? Your manager can make you available. Or not. Plus do it in a way that you will never even know that the opportunity is there.
I call this "leaving opportunities on the table." You never knew about the opportunity, could never show your work, and thus don't have great accomplishments you can show in your performance review. If you want to ensure that you have the maximum number of opportunities, doesn't it make sense to have your manager as your most important customer?
I'm not saying all managers are good and you must please them all the time (in fact, trusted advisers can push back effectively on good managers).
But a lot of us think of "customers" as people "out there." When the reality is your most important customer is right here.
Do you consider your manager your most important customer"?