Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Workplace asymmetries in needs, goals, priorities and perspectives – Part 4: the view of those reporting to you

Posted in job search and career development by Timothy Platt on January 23, 2011

This posting deals with an important learning curve issue for anyone who takes on supervisory or management responsibilities. When you are working in a hands-on position and on your own you are accountable for your own performance, but you are not necessarily accountable for the performance of others. True, effectively fulfilling your responsibilities in most cases still means working effectively with others. But your primary on the job goals, priorities and perspectives revolve around your own hands-on professional activities.

When you move into a supervisory position, you have to juggle a much more complex set of issues, and doing that right means understanding the perspective of others who rely on you and who report to you. This is very important, and it is a measure of bad management skills when a supervisor fails to consider or even try to understand the needs, priorities and goals of the people who report to them, and from their perspective. I add that where there are disconnects in this, they tend to come out when a supervisor and their team they manage go through an annual performance review process, and everyone finds themselves disappointed, frustrated and unappreciated – and at least a bit angry.

This posting is about going beyond the confines of your own goals and priorities and in ways that you may never have had to consider before.

In a real sense I am covering ground here I have touched on in earlier postings in this blog but I write this here to make sure it is covered in this context. Workplace success, and both for you as an individual and for those who report to you, and for your business as a whole depends on looking beyond the confines of your own needs, goals and perspectives and understanding these same driving forces in others.

Reread the third posting in this series and mentally flip it around in perspective, putting yourself in the position of the people who report to you. The key to this entire subject area in career development and management is in learning how to see the world through other people’s eyes and in navigating the differences to arrive as mutually agreeable resolutions to potential conflict points. Long term, that is essential if you are to consistently and repeatedly meet your job performance goals and your more ambitious stretch goals, and do so in a work environment that is sustaining. This is essential if the people who report to you are to meet theirs too.

I add as a final thought here that I have recently been posting on leadership (see Business Strategy and Operations, postings 104, 108, 114 and 116 for the most recent on this general topic area.) In a fundamental sense this posting fits into that set too, and as a key point of difference between managers who simply pass on directives given to them from above, and real leaders. So I offer this both as a point of issue in developing and advancing a career, and also as a hands-on exercise in becoming an effective leader. There is an often trite expression, “thinking outside of the box.” Leaders think outside of the box, and that has to include thinking outside of the box of their own particular head and their own personal agenda. Effective leadership in action requires understanding and working with workplace asymmetries.

This is a fourth posting in a series on workplace asymmetries in needs, goals and priorities. The first three can be found in my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development as postings 132 through 134. The next in this series will turn to issues that arise when working with stakeholders, both in-house and external to your business.

One Response

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  1. Lisa Neppel Danzer said, on January 26, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I enjoy reading your posts. You have valid information! Thanks

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