In my last post, I implored you not to put up with bad management. Life is just too short to put up with someone that is going to bring you down every day. If you are a great MGO, you will have no problem finding a job that brings you joy.
So in the same spirit of taking control over your own work experience, I’m now asking you to demand good management of your work. It’s one thing to leave bad management; it’s another to expect you will be managed well and to seek it out before you take any position.
People don’t leave organizations. People leave bad managers.
Richard and I have known many great MGOs who love the mission of the organization they work for, but they have such a terrible manager that they have to leave. It doesn’t have to be that way.
I think some MGOs may be so fearful about being unemployed, or worried that there is not a job out there for them, that they forget it’s their job to interview their potential manager in the hiring process.
Yes, you heard me right. In YOUR interview, you should be interviewing your potential manager. If they don’t fit the criteria below, you need to consider another position.
That is the kind of attitude you need to go into your interview with. They need you more than you need them.
Here is what you want to look for in a good manager. Remember, you can’t really be successful and have joy in your job without one. So these are extremely important. A good manager:
- Loves to develop people. I cannot stress enough how important this one is. A good manager is someone that likes to see success through the efforts of others. But many times, former MGOs get hired as managers. They were great as an MGO because they loved to succeed on their own efforts. That’s great for an MGO and very bad for a manager. Watch this one. Some of the best managers I know are “developers” as their number one strength. You want this.
- Wants to hold you accountable and help you stay focused. You actually will want to ask, “how are you going to hold me accountable with my work?” If they can’t answer that with a clear, thought-out answer, you will be in trouble. Every great MGO knows they need to be held accountable and kept focused. If your manager does not have a plan to help do that for you, you’ll be in a difficult situation. I know a lot of people on the “outside” will think you are crazy to want a manager that holds you accountable, but you will not succeed without it. It may feel good at first: “hey, I can do what I want, I don’t have to worry about anyone looking over my shoulder…” but over time, you’ll want that accountability and have someone interested in what you do every day.
- Is absolutely clear about what your responsibilities are. It starts with the job description. Is it clear, manageable and evaluative? Does your manager clearly state what his or her expectations are of you? Hopefully yes. If this is ambiguous, it’s a red flag. You need clarity and set expectations. (Read Richard’s great post about job descriptions here…)
- Encourages you. You want someone that will constantly be encouraging you to be your best. They help you through tough times and celebrate with you in good times. They publicly praise you in front of your peers. This is what you want in a good manager. If they don’t see this as part of their job, then you should seek something else.
- Is someone who “holds on… but not too tight.” I believe just about everything in life can come down to this phrase about holding on. You want a manager that holds you accountable, meets with you weekly, is greatly interested in your development, but they also need to let you do “your thing.” They need to let you make mistakes and take risks and they don’t need to be hovering over you… unless you give them a good reason to. This is where you need to ask your manager about their philosophy of management. This will give you the clue if they get this concept.
This is in your hands. This is within your control. Remember that. If you want to succeed as an MGO, you need a good manager. Without one, you will founder. Don’t you deserve the best management you can get? Go out and find it. And if you do have good manager… let them know how much you appreciate them.
PS – Have you checked out our new book yet? We’ve taken the most important principles that we blog about all the time, and we put them in It’s Not JUST About the Money. You’ll want to read it!