Your Job is to Make Your Boss Look Good

I’ve always believed that my job was to make my boss look good (but, not to make his/her life easy 😉 ).

My team must believe this as well, as they are always all over this. In my job there is an enormous amount of metrics to hit. You can imagine, doing a large and ambitious project makes scorecards important.

Being a data company of tech geeks makes metrics a bit promiscuous.

My team is so outstanding that I must confess, I rarely check my metrics. I know they are great because my team is great, and they will tell me if there is an issue I should know about.

Making my boss look good is a bit more complex than meeting metrics. For him, that’s table stakes. What makes my boss look good is delivering a set of products that make people take notice. Products that deliver measurable business value. Products that inspireamaze, and highlight the unique value of his organization.

So, this is what my peers and I do — we focus on getting it right and making it happen.

Some days this lofty goal seems completely out of reach. Other days we surprise ourselves with our own success. And then there are days when we achieve a grand slam — an opportunity to make not just a boss but their boss and their boss look good. Those days are great days. Those are the days you are reminded that it was worth the fight.

Those are the days that will pay off in much bigger ways than looking good yourself.

I wish you all the joy that comes from making someone important to you look good. It rocks!

This blog was originally posted on TalentedApps. 

Is Employee Engagement a Manager’s Job?

We’ve been talking about Employee Engagement for some time. How do we engage people, why do we need to engage people – all that touchy/feely stuff that causes some of us to feel warm and fuzzy, and others of us to hold back a gag reflex.

I’ve also been thinking about a manager’s role in the overall Talent story for some time. I think that to really do innovative things in Talent you not only need software and an HR vision, but you also really need solid line managers. Initiatives like building, sharing, and retaining talent fall down quickly with bad managers. As the saying goes, people join a company, but they quit their manager.

I’ve read a few things lately that are food for thought for those of us who are managers. Now, I do not intend to suggest that we as individuals yield our own responsibility to define, nurture, and grow our own careers, but for those of us who are managers, it can’t hurt to check in and see if we could be doing more.

Here is a quick article that talks about employee engagement and how “managing with a human touch” is a necessary ingredient for that to happen. 

I also recently read The Three Signs of a Miserable Job and found an interesting assertion on the responsibility of a manager. This book focuses on how a manager is responsible to make the job of their employees something that they can feel positive about. The most interesting thing that he points out is that the work is not really the most significant factor. In other words, a movie star, a super model, or a professional athlete can be less engaged in their job than a cashier, a janitor, or a factory worker. His core points were that: 

  1. People need to be recognized – he used the word anonymity as the problem. Managers need to engage with their teams as people first and employees second. Yes, here is where the touchy/feely part comes in – if it makes you squirm as a manager then guess what? Maybe you shouldn’t be in management. People often confuse what is not legal to ask in an interview process with what they should not ask an employee. So, the question is: do you like your team? Do you know them? Do you care about them as people? 
  2. People need to be able to measure their work (immeasurement) – if you can’t measure what you do, or worse, if you are measured on something that has no clear connection with what you do, then you are probably less satisfied with your job. 
  3. People need to see a value in their contribution (irrelevance) – people want/need to know that they make a difference in the lives of others with their contributions. One very interesting point he raised is that managers are often not comfortable being clear to their teams that they need them. So, in case there is any doubt for my team – ohmygod do I need you guys 😉

This blog was originally posted on TalentedApps.