One of the best questions I ever received from a job candidate was this:
“When I work for you, how can I make your life easier?” I was completely floored. I was a little cynical and I thought to myself “Way to suck up on the interview.”
Then it happened again with a different candidate. The second time I was prepared. I shared with him: “This is how you could make my life easier, get in, get ramped-up as quickly as possible, ask for directions and be able to function independently, build good relationships with our customers, build good relationships with your team, take care of the everyday issues, don’t let me get blind-sided and only bring me the big issues that you and the team can't solve on your own.”
I wanted him to keep me informed but to handle the details without me.
I already had a high-maintenance manager on my team. Unfortunately, she could not take on a task without a full review session. She needed my attention about
three times each day. She reported to me after the completion of just about
This was far too much for me. When I discussed it with her, she was shocked and disappointed. She felt that keeping me in the loop every step of the way was strong leadership. In fairness to her, I believe that her prior manager was a real control freak. She was a product of her former environment.
You shouldn’t need to ask your manager about everything you do. If you do this you might think that you are being inclusive and building rapport, but you are possibly being perceived as high-maintenance and difficult. Your manager might be very nice and friendly to your face, but what she thinks is that you can’t work independently and that you can’t be trusted with anything big or important. She thinks this because you’re in their office confirming whether or not it’s okay for you to change your lunch schedule by 15 minutes.
So be careful and ask yourself this basic question:
“Do I make life easier for the people I work for, or do I make life more difficult, am I high-maintenance or highly valued?”
If you have a question about the human side of theworkplace, just Ask Margaret by sending your questions to Ask@MargaretMeloni.com. If you need anonymity, no problem.