Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Stop Blaming Your Bosses!

I hear, over and over, such comments as: “my boss just doesn’t get it,” “I can’t get support from my boss,” “we need to educate our bosses so they’ll do what we want them to do.” OK – I’ll admit it…I actually uttered words to that effect, once or twice. But now, I realize we were (are) wrong. It isn’t our bosses’ fault that things aren’t going our way. It’s our own fault. And there is something we can do about it. We can communicate.

In my experience, most bosses do their best to make good decisions that forward their missions and goals. Most bosses really are good people who want to do the right thing. Heck, I was a boss a few times. I know I always tried to do right things, based on what I knew about the issues. And that’s the key. We need to make sure that our bosses have all the facts, in a timely way, so they can make good decisions (ie - decisions that we like!).

We need to communicate well and often, to make our bosses aware of what we’re doing, the issues we’re facing, the options for making things better, and - yes - that we are hard-working, talented individuals who know what we're talking about. That means we’ve got to take the time to send those bi-weekly accomplishments reports (don’t wait to be asked!). That means we’ve got to write those issue papers - laying out problems along with our proposed solutions - in a timely way, so our bosses have time to consider and ask questions and make good decisions. That means we’ve got to make appointments with our bosses and get on the agenda of management meetings and use our ingenuity to let them know both what we’ve achieved and what we’d like to achieve. ‘Tis better to err on the side of over-communicating, than under-communicating. ‘Tis better to be a pest, than a hermit. ‘Tis better to be in your boss’s face, than off your boss’s radar.

Bosses do sometimes make decisions we don’t like. Sometimes, that’s because they know things we don’t know. But don’t let them make a bad decision because they don’t know something you do know. Don’t blame your boss for your failure to communicate.

Related links
What If Our Bosses Don’t Want to Be Educated?

Make Time to Lead
9 Questions Every Web Manager Needs to Ask