Friday, May 27, 2011

Are you undermanaged? If the answer is yes, what can you do about it?

Internationally-recognized management trainer and seminar speaker Bruce Tulgan brings the term “undermanaged” to life in his best-selling book, It’s Okay to Manage Your Boss, The Step-by-Step Program for Making the Best of Your Most Important Relationship at Work. He defines undermanagement as “a shocking and profound epidemic that has permeated the workplace. As the opposite of micromanagement, it occurs when the vast majority of supervisory relationships between employees and their bosses lack the day-to-day engagement necessary to consistently maintain the basics of management,” which can be described as stating clear expectations, providing necessary resources, developing a routine of performance tracking, and rewarding employees when results are achieved and exceeded.

You may wonder, what creates a workplace environment where undermanagement can grow and fester? Unfortunately, there are too many people in the workplace with the title of “manager” who lack the training, knowledge, or expertise to be effective managers. As a result, these individuals fail to spell out expectations to their employees – which leads to incomplete projects followed by increased frustration levels in employees who eventually mentally check out of their jobs or quit.

Tulgan believes that the “pendulum of management thinking” is wrong and can be blamed for creating today’s undermanaged workplace. Employers are getting more and more demanding while providing less and less guidance. While employers want employees to work on their own and make their own decisions, the truth is, someone has to be held accountable. But it just doesn’t make good business sense for employees to work in their own vacuums or silos. Instead, employees need to be held accountable, and this is where “the boss – at every level – is the most important person in the workplace today.”

Here are Tulgan’s seven steps to manage your boss:

[1] The first person you have to manage every day is yourself
[2] Get in the habit of managing your boss every day
[3] Take it one boss at a time, one day at a time
[4] Make sure you understand what is expected of you
[5] Assess and plan for the resources you need
[6] Track your performance in writing every step of the way
[7] To earn greater credit and rewards, go the extra mile

While you may not be able to completely wipe out undermanagement, you may be able to improve your situation by managing your boss, which will allow you to have a long and satisfying career in your current workplace!

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