Latest update 18 September 2001, Trillian's Child
As so many of us spend so much time at work, getting along with others in the work place is plays an easily underestimated part in our general well-being and contentment with life. However, this entry is less about bitching, harassment and personal problems - it's more about being a good boss and a decent employee. If things are functioning on that level, the chances are that personal relationships among colleagues and between the various levels shouldn't be too hard either.
The entry is aimed at the office environment, but many aspects may be applied to other situations in the working world.
The Perfect Boss
Never leaves the office without informing anyone. He also leaves clear instructions as to if, how, where and when he can be reached when out of the office and when he will be back
Gives clear, unambiguous instructions and gives consideration to the questions asked
Explains why each job has to be done
Answers unsolicited questions with patience
Understands that most mistakes are caused by insufficient information
Ends meetings and conversations only when absolutely sure that everyone knows what he has to do, or is in the complete picture, depending upon the aim of the meeting
Respects his staff and their privacy
Does not talk overmuch about his own private affiars
Laughs at people's jokes
Is quite justified in flying off the handle if someone makes the same mistake a second or third time
Has a right to expect the complete attention of his staff when he is talking to them
Listens to his staff with his entire attention
Listens to both sides of a dispute
Does not have proteges - treats everyone the same
Forms his own opinions and is not influenced by information or opinion of any particular member of his staff
Is not continually away at meetings or business trips
Sticks to his decisions (and remembers what they were)
Does not look ridiculous, however, if new information or circumstances call for a review of this decision, and makes sure everyone is informed that any directves have been reverted
Is consistent in decisions and general style of management, does not change ideas from one day to the next.
Knows how to apologise with dignity
Retains an ability to assess a situation as a whole and to simplify and clarify things for someone who may have lost sight of the wood for the trees
Is careful in what he says because there is always someone who remembers every word he has said and will relish finding contradictions
Is very careful about relieving someone of a particular task. The person concerned may be unduly offended, and will feel that he doesn't have so much to do now. Either way, it is difficult to give this person a new task or, worse still, to give them the old one back.
Makes his priorities quite clear - stating to what degree a matter is Urgent, Important and/or Confidential
Ensures that everyone has access to all necessary information and knows how to find it. Much time is lost in people setting up their own databases of telephone numbers or product information, etc.
Knows his business
Praises good work
Entrusts his staff with increasing amounts of responsibility and space to develop, allowing him to assess each one's abilities
Can delegate - this is not a sign of sloth
Does not need to cope with details
Is disciplined and well organised
Make sure that everyone has something to do, particularly jobs they can get on with without having to ask continually.
Is motivated - and can motivate
Doesn't need to make excuses, because he never gets himself into any situation which would require this.
Is allowed a bad day
Has everything under control well enough to be able to take time off for his family or his health at short notice without being missed
Does all this without having to think about it, because he is a just and fair person
The Other Side of the Story
This is what I think a boss expects of his staff.
The perfect employee:
Asks questions all at once and doesn't keep barging in with new questions on the same subject.
Is not afraid to speak up
Remembers everything he is told
Recognises what is important and what is not.
Tells the boss everything relevant to the job
Doesn't hide problems between himself and other employees from his boss
Supports his boss even when he is not entirely in agreement with the policies
Checks all written work before handing it to the boss
Verifies all statements before running to the boss with them
Only gives his opinion if asked
Demonstrates basic good manners to those both junior and senior to himself
Doesn't waste spare time
Treats any private information about the boss with discretion
Is punctual, and, of course, reliable. Punctuality applies to arriving and leaving work. Leaving late is a sign of bad organisation, twisted priorities and lack of self-discipline
Is organised in all aspects of his life
Always has everything to hand - relevant documents, phone numbers, Aspirin - before it is needed.
When reporting a problem to the boss, has thought through the possible solutions and provides the necessary information for making any decisions involved
never gives the impression of being flustered or over-worked
Is always there for a cosy chat if necessary
Tells his boss where he is going wrong, where necessary, with regard to treatment of personnel
Can state clearly what he is working on at the present, how far he has got and how long it will take to complete.
Does not suffer in silence if the workload is too much, but gives a realistic report on the situation
Is not loathe to hand over jobs if his time does not permit him to keep them going, and they can be easily done by someone else
Arranges all tasks so that they can be done by someone else, in case of illness or in case the task is passed on to a colleague.
Knows the job and the company as well as, if not better than, his boss.
Has confidence in his own abilities
There are some interesting quotes in Managers and Management, and this was also once the topic of a Talking Point, which never got made into a finalised entry, as far as I can tell, Talking Point, the Work Place