Have you ever felt like your manager must be living on a different planet from everybody else? Their demands seem so out of whack that you begin to wonder how it is that they are the one who is running the show? We’ve all been there. Before you make any sudden moves, take a minute to analyze the situation:
Make sure you understand. Could it be that you have misunderstood what your manager is asking? Sometimes in the heat of a busy day, we don’t communicate as clearly as we could. Check back with your manager and make sure that you understand exactly what she is asking you to do. Also, keep in mind that your manager has a different perspective from you. Something that may make no sense from your point of view, may seem important from her broader perspective. She may be making a request based on privileged information.
Communicate your concerns. Don’t assume that your manager knows how you feel. Unless you tell her otherwise, it would be reasonable for her to assume that you are perfectly happy with the situation. Be respectful and professional, but clearly let her see your perspective. Be as specific as possible. Don’t just say that it won’t work; outline the specific problems with the plan. You may find that she is happy to hear your perspective.
Offer alternatives. If you’re going to bring your manager a problem, you had better also bring a solution. Be a problem solver, not a problem creator. If you offer your manager possible alternatives, she is more likely to take your concerns seriously.
Be open minded. If your manager is willing to hear your perspective, it is only fair that you also listen to hers. Don’t just listen to argue, but listen to understand so that you can truly comprehend where she is coming from. Once you understand her perspective, you may find that her approach actually makes sense.
Make a decision. You may not be completely happy with your manager’s decision, but at the end of the day, she is the manager. You need to decide what you are going to do. Are you willing to accept her decision and move on, or is this something that is worth losing your job over? Make a conscious decision, but remember that it’s not always easy to find a new job.
We all have our own ideas of how we would run things if we were the boss, but it’s not as easy as it looks. The manager has to deal with competing priorities and conflicting personalities, all while making sure that business is done both effectively and efficiently. While some managers are definitely difficult, many are simply trying to navigate through a challenging situation. Be as supportive as you can, but be ready to draw the line, if necessary.
(Written by Karen Bivand)