Wednesday, February 15, 2012

So What Should Scott Do?

I thought I'd start with things that Scott shouldn't do before I talk about what he should do:

Set up a meeting to speak with the Regional Director to confront him about all of the Friday presentations that are then asked about on Monday to prove that his Friday presentations are thorough and well prepared.

In general, it's never a good idea to confront your manager no matter how right or wrong you think you are. Think about it this way, the people that are above you on the career ladder, while perhaps not because they are smarter, more talented or even a better person, got there by doing their jobs well in a way that works for them. Could they learn to do things better? Probably! But for the most part, they are usually there because they are good at what they do. It will help you a great deal if you understand that you probably aren't going to get them to change and it could be a problem for you if you try. It's a classic case of the risk far outweighing the reward. Instead, think about trying to understand who they are, how they work, and what you need to do in order to compliment their style rather than pointing out what is wrong with it.

Complain to his coworkers about how frustrating it is to work with the Regional Director but don't really change the way he's handling the Friday presentations.

Let's face it, it helps to vent. And if you have a trusted colleague (and I mean TRUSTED), then by all means go ahead and vent. But do not go spouting off to anyone who will listen about all of your supervisor's flaws. And certainly, venting to a colleague isn't the only thing you should do because it is a passive response that won't yield anything but trouble no matter how good you feel afterwards.

So this leaves us with what Scott should do:

Try creating a PowerPoint slide and then handing out a one page synopsis of his Friday presentation that people could take away from the meetings and refer to later.

Now there is no guarantee that this will work. Perhaps Scott's boss isn't someone who responds well to hand outs or slides. But what this does show is that Scott is being proactive in trying to find effective solutions. What he has done here is create new a presentation style that he thinks might positively affect the most amount of people. The PowerPoint is designed for those who respond well to taking in information visually. The handout is designed to help those that understand and absorb information by reading. Those two, combined with his verbal presentation, now gives Scott a fair chance to reach everyone in the room and makes sure the information is going to be retained by almost everyone. After all, if you don't absorb information by visual aids, reading or listening than chance are you don't retain much now do you?

A more formal name for what Scott is doing is Managing Up, which means going above and beyond your actual job description to enhance the work of you manager. Making his/her life easier by providing what he or she needs, anticipating those needs and often satisfying those needs before you are asked. It's a method of assessing the working styles of those around you are figuring out ways to compliment them for the benefit of efficiency and progress.

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