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I’m a Manager Now!

Guess what? I got promoted! Go me! Thank you, thank you. I’m excited about the new challenges and possibilities. Really. I am.

One of those new challenges? It’s–da da DUM—managing people! I really want to excel as a manager. I’ve been a non-manager of people for awhile. I’ve had good bosses, mediocre bosses, bad bosses—even no bosses! I know what it’s like to have a suck boss, and I really don’t want to be a suck boss.

What I’ve learned in my years in the working world (in my limited experience only—don’t know if this happens everywhere) is that people who are good at their job get promoted. Sometimes to management positions, which can be bad. Because even though someone may be outstanding at his job, it doesn’t always mean he should manage people.

So here’s where I’m going with all this. If you could say anything to YOUR boss what would it be? Maybe it’s something she doesn’t do that you really wish she did or maybe something he does do that you really wish he didn’t. It might be to simply always pop a breath mint before having a private conversation in close corners. Here’s your chance to give your boss a piece of your mind, and hopefully I can learn from it.

Go forth—be brutally honest. In the comments.

18 thoughts on “I’m a Manager Now!

  1. Jensational says:

    I would tell my boss "Please stop lying. I know when you're lying and everyone else knows and it just makes us feel like you think we're stupid. Please stop allowing your pets to work from home all the time while you make everyone else come in all the time or give us attitude if we need to take a sick day for our kid. Please talk to me. Stop screening my calls and hiding in your office with the door closed. When I finally get a chance to sit down with you, could you please stop typing for 5 minutes, look me in the eye and speak to me as if you were actually listening to what I am saying. Stop screaming at people. It does nothing except make people resent you. Stop taking credit for the things that I do that people like and stop publicly chastizing me for things I do that aren't successful. A one-on-one to go over the project's failings would be helpful but to insult me with an audience is humiliating.

    I could go on for hours . . .

    Congrats on your promotion!

  2. Congratulations on your promotion!

    I don't technically have a boss at the moment (long story), so I don't have anything to get off my chest at the moment. But I will tell you what made me love my boss was that she was very good about giving praise and appreciation to us for our hard work – and she did it sincerely. My old boss never thanked us for anything and was often sarcastic when he did. He also questioned the hours we worked. So my best advice is to make sure that your hard workers know that the work they do is noticed and appreciated.

  3. What I'd have liked to say:

    SHADOW OF A LEADER. Your employees are going to do what you do. If you're surfing the Internet at your desk, or calling your family, or taking 9 million smoke breaks or constant long lunches, they're going to think it's OK if they do it. Don't be hypocritical. Don't write up people for doing the exact same things you're doing.

    TRUST YOUR EMPLOYEES. Don't treat them as if they're there to take advantage of you or be lazy. After a certain age, most workers WANT to do a good job. Let them. And let them know when they DO the good job. Don't let it be all about criticism.

    MAKE YOUR EXPECTATIONS CLEAR. There have been so many times that I thought I was sailing along and doing well, and then review time comes around and I'm suddenly told I suck in this area, this area, and that area. Things I didn't know I should be working on. Not being given feedback except once or twice a year is unfair and counterproductive. It's a pain, but it will help your employees feel as if they are valued rather than that they're being screwed over. People can't improve if they don't know they need to.

    Hmm, that's all I can think of for now.

  4. Marketing Mommy says:

    I've only been a manager for a couple of years. It's hard, but remembering what its like to BE managed helps a lot. I try to check in with people every day, take them out for lunch or coffee once a month, and make sure YOUR superiors know about the kick-ass work they're doing.

    I'm lucky to have a really good boss above me right now, so I'm learning from a master.

  5. I've been lucky to work for awesome bosses pretty much right down the line (well, after getting out of newspapers). The best thing about them was that they trusted me to get my work done and to do it well. They didn't need to micromanage my time or my whereabouts. And when I did/do a great job (which I do on a consistent basis, thanks to enjoying the perks just mentioned), they let me know I'm appreciated.

    They also gave/give me room to innovate and asked/ask for my input on all sorts of things, from new business to dealing with current clients. They may not agree with me, but I know I've been heard and valued.

  6. Addendum to say: I did have some great newspaper bosses as well. Just more not-so-great ones than I experienced after leaving the industry!

  7. On the job I have been blindsided regarding tasks that I thought I had accomplished well and finding out months down the line that the task lacked some aspect that didn't please my employer. Any feedback at the time a task is ongoing or completed would be a great tool for your employees.

    I have had a few jobs over the years and every workplace has employees that are favored over others. And yes you are going to like some employees better than others, but that should never be openly shown on the job. Neutrality should be a goal of all managers.

    Never take your employees for granted. You know you have that 'go to' employee that will take on any task and accomplish it. Those are the employees that need to be told that they have done a good job and that you are always able to count on them. On the other hand the slackers need to be told that their work is not up to par and let them know what skills need to be improved.

    It is a fine line to walk…

  8. Megan Sneary says:

    Congratulations! I love being a manager and I think you will too.

    Managing people is not unlike being a good mother.

    The most important things are:
    * give structure but allow freedom within it;
    * set goals and communicate expectations clearly or you are setting them up to fail;
    * praise effectively, honest and abundant always win over trite or fabricated;
    * actively listen to what they have to say, not just assume you already know;
    * give them the confidence to try new things and the be there to catch them or fix things if they fail spectacularly;
    * assume the best intentions behind every act and have faith that they WANT to do well;
    * remember that when out in the world they represent you and you represent them and that this is a good thing;
    * and finally, talk with the same pride but not ownership about your staff as you do your children.

    It is so rewarding to be the boss you wish you had. And the more you reinforce a teamwork mentality (like being a family that cares about one another at home) the more committed every member of the team will be in the long run. ENJOY!

  9. I don't have any advice that hasn't already been shared, just wanted to say congrats!!!

  10. Thank you SO much for all your thoughtful responses. There is a lot to take in here. I'm going to print them all out, and refer to them from time to time.

    And oof, Jensational–sounds like you have a real suck of a boss. Sorry!

  11. T, there are lots of management how-to books out there. But the best one I've read is The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't by Bob Sutton. He also has a great blog at http://bobsutton.typepad.com/. It's not specifically about managing people, but I think it's helpful for both bosses and non-boss employees. Also, it's not boring, as many biz books are.

  12. Mairtin'sMom says:

    I would tell my boss, "no need to be defensive, it's ok to make mistakes every once in a while."

    I would tell you that the 90% of what makes a good boss is a combination of being organized and being a decent communicator. If you have that, you are well on your way. The other 10% is a combination of a number of things, but it has to do with being non-apologetic in the sense that you can't feel guilty about being the boss, and being authentic.

    Good Luck!!

  13. Congratulations Tela!

    I've only been under my current manager for a couple of months but I would love to tell my previous one to TELL US WHAT'S GOING ON. Disseminate information, preferably in a team meeting. I don't want to find out in the hallway that someone's leaving the company or the team.

    The best managers I've had have been the ones who've taken a step back and let me do my job. Check in with me once in a while to see how I'm doing, if I'm having any issues, but don't micromanage. And a little praise once in a while is a good thing.

    My current manager asked me what my preferred form of praise is. Some people like a pat on the back, some like a token like a free lunch or gift card to Target or Starbucks. He said he had one employee that would have preferred a sign out front that said "Joe Smith, you rock!" I liked that he asked what he could do to make me feel appreciated.

  14. shannanb aka mommy bits says:

    Congrats Tela!! That is awesome news.

    As a manager of people myself, I would say that even if you know what you want to happen, listen to the thoughts and ideas of your team before you make a decision.

  15. Yay, you!

    I agree giving praise is important. Nancy's comment about the guy who wanted the "Joe Smith, you rock!"sign made me laugh. I always appreciated when my managers made a point to let others know if I did a kick-ass job on a project. Early on in my career, a creative director of mine put on a "Best Idea Ever Parade." He marched through the office like bandleader after I gave him some print ad ideas. It was totally goofy–but I loved every minute of it.

    Later on in my career, I found out not many managers put on Best Idea Ever Parades. Ha! But, regardless getting praise in any way always made me want to do an even better job the next time around. 🙂

  16. Thanks again to everyone for their thoughtful comments! I really love getting input from all different perspectives.

    Looks like I have some more reading to do, too!

  17. just4ofus says:

    Awesome! climb that ladder girl. congrats!

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