Friday, April 22, 2011

The Right Boss Matters

People always talk about finding the right job, but you don’t hear them talk about finding the right manager – until they’re in the job, and then you often hear them complain.

Really, they should consider their “fit” with each manager during the interview process.  As much as the job requirements, a manager controls your assignments and work environment.

How do you determine whether or not you’re a fit before you’ve had the opportunity to actually work with the company?  You ask questions in the interview.

You’ve been told many times the importance of asking questions at the end of an interview to show how we’ll you’ve researched a company.  But these questions are actually important in determining cultural fit – and that includes whether or not you’re a fit with your potential manager.

Here are a few questions you might ask:

1. Is there anyone working for you who you consider an awesome performer? What makes him or her a great employee?
2. Ask about a past project or accomplishment in detail.  Try to listen for what the boss actually did throughout the project.
3. What is an example of a typical customer?  Listen for the manager’s attitude toward customers.
4. Ask for their views on delegation. How do they delegate?
5. Ask them for their opinion on individual development and training?
6. What does it take to succeed in a role like this?
7. What is your personal management style?
8. What has your experience with the company been like so far?
9. What are key expectations from team members?

You won’t be able to tell everything about your boss from an initial meeting and a few questions, but you should get a very good idea of what he or she would be like to work with.

And if you do inevitably end up with a boss who makes your workday more difficult, try to do what it takes to make it work.  Good employees learn to anticipate their bosses’ needs and work around differences to get the job done.  Eventually, they get a new boss or a new job and can move on knowing they took full responsibility for their success, despite the obstacles.

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