People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers. Sometimes people can complain about work itself, the long hours and the low pay, but what really makes employees leave a company is consistently poor management. Most complaints are about communication issues, unrealistic demands, bad listening skills, and lack of support.
Good news though – you can take steps improve the situation in four simple ways – and emerge as a better, stronger professional.
1. Get to the root of the problem
Many problems come from poor communication. The thing is, most managers could be better at it – they just might not be aware of the fact. Maybe they believe their expectations and KPIs will automatically ‘trickle down’ to the team without requiring a clear explanation.
If you’re experiencing something like this at work, it‘s difficult to know what you are working towards. Book a meeting to tell your manager why you are there and what you want to get out of it. If your productivity gets better as a result of this chat, your boss may have learned a valuable lesson about communication.
2. Talk, talk, talk
If your manager is making unrealistic demands, it is probably happening because they don’t know what you are doing. Talk to them about your work load and the timeframes in place. Ask your manager to help you prioritise your tasks, set goals, and revisit the scope of your role.
3. Go prepared!
Poor listening skills are often cited as an annoying trait of managers – one-way communication is a motivation killer! To ensure that a 121 is productive and works well for you, it is vital that you carefully plan what you are going to say ahead of time.
Make a list of your talking points and edit it as the meeting is going on, so if a thought pops into your mind you won’t miss it. Keeping a list also helps to keep track of the conversation, so if you get interrupted you can refer back to your notes and ensure everything is covered. .
4. If all else fails…
You can always tap into your immediate circle of influence – by working on yourself. David McClelland, a writer on motivation, identified three major drivers in life: achievement, affiliation and power. By watching and mirroring your manager's primary motivator, you will start to understand them better and this will make it much easier to anticipate reactions and meet their expectations.
If their primary driver is achievement, people issues will always tend to be a low priority, so focus on talking about deliverables, deadlines and successes; if their major motivator is affiliation, present your arguments in terms of how people are impacted; and in the case of power being the driver, focus on building a relationship of trust and respect - so that your influencer boss will feel compelled to keep you in the loop.