Manage Your Manager

Chapter 12 Manage Your Manager

A very important, but much neglected, part of being a good manager is building up a good working relationship with your own manager. This may not seem your foremost concern because you are focusing so much on building your own team. But if you make time for your manager, you will ensure that you:

If you do not put time and effort into building up a good working relationship with your manager, you can become low on their priority list. This means you could end up having your concerns falling on deaf ears. You may find that they forget to give you information. You could even find that you end up arguing regularly and get labelled as the ‘difficult’ one.

Having a poor relationship with your manager does you no favours at all. It will hinder your progress. It doesn’t matter whether you like them or not; they have access to knowledge and information that you don’t. You should find the right ways of working with them to help achieve your goals.

Clarify expectations

Problems tend to arise if there is a lack of clarity between you about your tasks and responsibilities.

Be clear about what you expect from your manager

You do not have to become great friends with your manager, but you should understand their role and the demands placed on them. If you know what the organisation expects from your manager, then you will understand more readily why they work the way they do and why they make the decisions they do.

Your manager may have a different management style to you. They may be used to giving out orders and telling people what to do rather than involving the team in any decision making. This may not sit well with you. If that is the case, then say so, but don’t jump in with both feet. After all, their style may emanate from their own lack of confidence, so to ‘attack’ them may be counterproductive. Notwithstanding this, try to be clear about your expectations in that you want to be involved, not just informed. Ask your manager for regular feedback, both positive and negative, so that you can continuously improve in your work, rather than wait for your appraisal to find out how you are progressing.

Make sure you get your appraisal each year. Don’t wait for your manager to initiate the process. Write down what you want to discuss:

Forward this information to your manager in preparation for your appraisal. Take control of the process, as you would hope your own staff would do for you. If the meeting is cancelled more than twice, let them know how it makes you feel. Unfortunately, there are still some senior managers who will regularly cancel appraisals (usually only because of disorganisation) without realising the unintended effect it can have on morale.

You need to understand what your manager’s own objectives are too. A good manager will ensure that your objectives reflect their own. In that way, you will know that you are both heading in the same direction. It would be detrimental if your objectives were totally different from those of your manager. That would only serve to create tension in your working relationship, not to mention the effect on practice.

Remember that your manager is only human. Sometimes, people are labelled as ‘poor’ managers because they do not conform to our expectations. Your manager may have become out of touch clinically, for example, but may still be particularly good at helping you to write complaint letters or getting more resources for your ward. Make sure you get the most from what they do well and try not to focus on any weaknesses.

Be clear about what your manager expects from you

Your manager will probably have managed a ward or department before taking promotion. Problems sometimes occur when they expect you to manage your ward in the same way that they did. One of the ways you can ensure that you have full control without interference is to keep your manager fully informed about what you are doing. Show what you are doing well. Be clear about the skills you have and those you want to improve upon. Your manager needs to believe in your abilities before they will trust you.

If your manager does not communicate their expectations clearly, then it is your responsibility to ask what is expected. Your manager may not have good management or support from their own manager; this may affect their own ability to manage you. You need to appreciate their position and accept that perhaps they need prompting to articulate their expectations. Make sure you have what your manager expects in terms of organisational objectives written down clearly during your appraisal. Always refer to these in anything that you do. If your manager comes to you with further projects, ask yourself if it relates to your original objectives. If it does not, question your manager’s expectations. Are they perhaps too high?

Try not to get into the habit of propping up a failing or struggling manager. Encourage them to get help and support from elsewhere. You cannot provide your manager with the same support that you give your team. It is not fair on you and you must let them know that.

Work with, not against, your manager

Just because someone is your manager it does not mean that they are perfect and know everything. Like you, they will also be learning from their experiences and mistakes. Don’t focus on their weaknesses; nobody is perfect. Focus on their strengths; they would not be in the job if they didn’t do something right.

Act, if an important decision has been made without your consultation

If any important changes need to be made at work, everyone should be consulted. You should be given the chance to say what you think and your manager should genuinely listen, consider and respond to your views.

Jun 15, 2016 | Posted by in NURSING | Comments Off on Manage Your Manager

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