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YOUR BOSS MAY NEED MOTIVATING, TOO.

Much has been written on the subject of employee motivation from a management point of view. However, it is not always the employee who presents a motivation problem. Sometimes the problem may rest with the manager, and the question is not how can managers motivate their employees, but rather how can employees motivate their managers. Boss motivation problems. Some typical boss motivation problems that employees may encounter are: The boss doesn't boss. The boss has never assumed the boss responsibilities of planning, organizing, directing and controlling, and has left employees with little direction regarding their responsibilities and objectives. The bos bosses too much. The boss performs the duties of a boss with a great flare for giving orders, correcting mistakes, making all the major decisions; and telling people what to do, but with great disregard for delegating authority, involving employees in the decision-making process, and developing a sensitivity for employee needs and capabilities. The boss keeps you in the dark. The boss does not keep you informed about how the organization is doing, about priorities, about the information you need to perform your job well, or about how well you are doing. The boss needs a rewind. Bosses, like employees, occasionally need rewinding. The phenomenon occurs when the boss begins to miss deadlines, arrives at work late, stretches out coffee breaks and lunches, misses meetings, acts discouraged, and fails to carry his share of the work load. The boss speaks with forked tongue. Some bosses unknowingly give conflicting orders, frequently reverse their decisions, give daily tongue lashings, and send double messages in which they say one thing but mean another. The boss rises to his or her level of incompetence. One of the more frustrating problems that employees face is a boss who has been promoted beyond his capabilities.

Motivating your boss. When bosses exhibit some or (heaven forbid!) all of the motivation problems mentioned above, employees often respond negatively. The employees develop a bad attitude do only what they are told. They stop

communicating with the boss bad habits; and they learn to play manipulative games to their own ends, such as learning how to make the boss think that all ideas are his. Employees have another choice, however, and that is to positively motivate their boss. Here are some suggestions that may help in solving the delicate problem of how to motivate your boss. Change the way you think about your boss. Many problems with bosses could be easily solved if employees would get rid of certain myths about bosses that they bold scared. Some myths as, for example, that if you were to talk openly about problems with your boss, the boss would strike you dead, mortally wound you, or make life miserable for you for the rest of your days. While some bosses may be capable of such things, most bosses have enough personal investment in wanting to be successful that they would be interested in considering information that could help them. Quite often employees do not receive what they want simply because they do not ask for it. Motivate yourself. Many employees who complain about their boss are just passing the buck because of their own lack of motivation. One of the best ways to motivate a boss is to motivate yourself, and set such a good example that your boss feels compelled to stay one step ahead of you. An employee who accepts responsibility, works hard, is open to criticism, and who continues to develop his capabilities, can be tremendous motivator to a boss. Learn how to confront with caring. Many of the ideas that employees accumulate about how bosses react to confrontations are based on a bad experiences with poorly-handled confrontations. Probably, the boss inappropriate response was a reaction to the critical, rebellious, and judgmental way in which the confrontation was handled, and not to the actual problem involved. When you confront with caring, you level with a problem by sticking to specific, objective, and honest data. You show that you care about the other person or persons involved, as well as about solving the problem. In the terms of transactional analysis, confronting with caring is levelling in an I am OK Youre OK way. Search for points of resistance. Employees are sometimes aware that the boss has it in for them. They waste much of their energy by waiting for the boss to take the initiative to solve the problem or by preparing themselves emotionally for the battles that lie ahead. It would be easier to go to the boss and express a desire to settle any differences and then explore with him or her what problems are involved. The boss resistance may be due to a personality conflict, an annoying mannerism, a rumour, a past mistake, or any number of other things that could be corrected if the problems were bought out into the open. Practice upward communications, delegation, and MBO. Employees can solve many of their problems with their boss by asking the initiative themselves. They can go to their boss, and ask for the information they need to perform their work. Then

they can schedule a meeting with their boss to receive feedback on how they are doing. They can also ask the boss to delegate more work to them. If they are unclear or their responsibilities and objectives, they can outline their own responsibilities and objectives themselves, and set up an appointment to assure that their boss is in agreement. Enrich the boss job. Most bosses who have received professional management training or have read about professional management are loaded with ideas and how to enrich jobs so that employees can be more motivated. Wouldnt it be great for bosses if the tables were turned and employees were loaded with ideas on how to enrich the boss job? As a matter of fact, a boss often needs some job enrichment, and employees can play a major role in helping to provide it. They can give the boss credit when he or she does a good job, they can assume responsibility for some of the mundane tasks the boss has to do, or they can help the boss organize the work to make it more challenging. Care! Caring is one of the most powerful facilitators of change. Most problems will eventually be solved if the boss knows that the employees genuinely care about him and that they have his best interests at heart. Miscellaneous methods. When all of the ideas presented above fail, there are still alternatives available to employees for motivating their boss. Share information such as articles and books often breaks the ice. This approach is particularly helpful when a procedure is established for both sharing and discussing information. Employees can also suggest that a monthly or quarterly staff meeting be devoted to bringing internal problems cut into the open and solve them. Another approach is to interest the boss in some training for himself, or for the whole staff that reports to him. A variation of this is to bring in a speaker several times a year. Finally, the boss could be encouraged to bring in a sympathetic third party to uncover the internal problems, and to conduct team-building sessions. It is important for employees to recognize that bosses also need motivating, that most boss motivation problems are solvable, and that as employees, we often suffer needlessly because we will not own responsibility for what we can do to motivate our boss. Finally, it is important to recognize that trying to motivate your boss through indirect, manipulative methods is very risky and avoids solving the real problems. It may, in fact, compound the problems by undermining the trust between a boss and his employees. It will be better for all concerned if problems are approached in a straight forward and caring way.

World Executives Digest, June 1983