This Revolutionary Assistant blog is all about being a good partner to your manager. But, let’s face it, not every manager is going to be a great partner. It’s not new news: there are managers out there who are really lousy bosses.
The primary reason that people leave their jobs is because they don’t like their managers, and if an assistant doesn’t like her manager, that can make for a very bad situation. So, when you interview for a new position, how can you tell if you’re going to get along?
First things first: think about the type of manager you’d be most successful supporting. Do you enjoy a manager that is very hands-on and guides you every step of the way, or do you want one that gives you a task and lets you figure out how to accomplish it? Do you want a manager that advocates a flexible work schedule and understands the importance of work/life balance, or would you rather someone who is as Type A as you are? Put some thought into the personality characteristics a manager might exhibit that would make you most happy, and the ones that would really get your dander up.
Then, off to the interview you go. Here are some more things to look for:
Does this manager’s team get good results? – A team that’s disengaged from its manager doesn’t usually produce good results. When it’s your turn to ask questions in the interview, make sure you cover things like, “What are the goals of the team?” and “Are you tracking to achieve those goals?” If you find out that the team is way behind, that should be a red flag. Managers who don’t have good teams won’t likely be good partners to their assistants, either.
Does this manager have integrity? – Chances are you won’t just be interviewed by the manager herself, you’ll have the opportunity to talk to some other people on the team. When you do, try to get a feel for this manager’s integrity. Does she care about the team? Is she able to get them charged up about their mission, and do they want to do a good job for her? Use indirect questions to figure out how the team feels about the manager, and do the same to find out how the manager feels about the team.
How’s this manager’s employee retention? – If employees are leaving this manager in droves, that’s a bad sign. How can you tell if a manager has high turnover rates? Well, for one, you can ask about the last person who held your position. Did she leave the company, transfer to another department? You can also ask questions about his team, what kind of positions make up that team, and what they do…and then use that information to look up his LinkedIn profile and the profile of those who seem to have worked for him. Reach out to a couple of these folks and ask what it was like to work with this manager.
Does this manager have a singular focus…and it’s him? – If the manager talks about all the things that he’s accomplished, and where he’s going with his career, then he may not be too concerned about the careers and the happiness of his team.
Don’t ignore your gut feelings – You can get a bad feeling about a manager when she’s not engaging in dialogue with you, when she’s dodging questions, and so on. If you get that foreboding feeling when you’re talking to a prospective new boss, pay attention to it! These are warning signs.
When you’re an average working Joe, a bad manager can make for a very long work week, but when you’re a Revolutionary Assistant, it can be agony. There are no guarantees that you’re going to get a great manager, but these hints can help you avoid some of a bad boss’ more obvious characteristics!
Next Post: Wednesday, May 25