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“This Isn’t a Juggling Act – This is Your Job!”. April Rodgers Vice President, Human Resources. What to Expect…. Best and Worst Boss Exercise Debrief Advantages and Disadvantages of Multiples Ground Rules Navigating Multiples Conflicts Questions. Best and Worst Exercise.

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this isn t a juggling act this is your job

“This Isn’t a Juggling Act – This is Your Job!”

April Rodgers

Vice President, Human Resources

what to expect
What to Expect…
  • Best and Worst Boss
    • Exercise
    • Debrief
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Multiples
  • Ground Rules
  • Navigating Multiples
  • Conflicts
  • Questions
best and worst exercise
Best and Worst Exercise
  • Good Boss, Bad Boss:
    • Introduction: Name and where you are from
    • I am… and when I’m not at work I fill my time…
    • Describe the worst boss you ever had.
      • Why was s/he the worst? Did you discover any helpful techniques to help you cope in that situation?
    • Describe the best boss you ever had.
      • Why was s/he the best? What did you learn from him or her that you still carry with you today?
    • Designate someone to share.
good vs evil
Good vs. Evil

Bad Boss

Good Boss

Inspires a vision and articulates a plan, then gets out of your way

Engaged with employees

Interested employee growth and development, mentors

Motivates through positive praise

Addresses areas of opportunity constructively

Seeks feedback, takes advice

Communicates openly

  • Micromanage or unavailable
  • Hypercritical
  • Poor Listener
  • Rude or Condescending
  • Creates fear
  • Avoids Conflict
  • Speaks negatively
  • Controlling
  • Inflexible
  • Hoards knowledge as power
multiple bosses
Multiple Bosses




Overload of work

Conflicting deadlines

Infighting among the bosses

Role confusion

Loyalty conflicts

  • Can make company more democratic
  • Learn from more than one perspective
  • Your contributions can be more widely recognized
first things first
First Things First
  • Set and manage expectations. When people are clear on what is expected of them, they are clear on how they can succeed.
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities
    • Is there a lead boss, who completes the performance appraisal and makes salary recommendations?
  • Keep the lines of communication open, understand how they prefer to communicate with you and each other
manage up
Manage Up
  • Am I at work to get a paycheck? Advance my career? Make my boss look good?
  • Get to know your boss, what is she trying to accomplish, what does she value (personally and professionally, does she make decisions based on data, or her gut)
  • Stretch yourself
  • Go above and beyond your tasks to enhance her work and objectives
  • Anticipate her needs to make her job easier
  • Work to understand her style and lean into it, adapt to it
  • Trust that she is making decisions with the best intentions, and always stay positive
get organized
Get Organized
  • Keep regular individual and group meetings with agendas and email notes
    • Long term, cascading SMART goals – Your goals should be based on their goals
    • Projects
    • Pulse Items or Major Matters
    • To do lists & follow up items
  • Prioritize, what can be done right away, what needs to wait
  • Keep clear boundaries and manage your time. Schedule a meeting with yourself.
sample agenda
Sample Agenda

Keep electronic copies from week to week

Email notes

navigating multiples
Navigating Multiples
  • Stay positive, if there are conflicts they are most likely because of the situation, not you, don’t take it personally
  • Stay in tune with the politics and understand who is in the position of power and prioritize accordingly
  • Don’t speak on behalf of one boss or another, try to get them to talk to one another
  • No surprises, proactively communicate and seek advice.
  • Understand your role in the situation. Self-awareness is key.
that sounds great but
“That sounds great, but…”
  • If you have to confront an issue, be prepared to describe the challenge in terms of an area of opportunity and propose at least 2 or 3 possible solutions or alternatives for them to select from. Where possible, do this without an audience.
  • When making recommendations, speak collectively and tentatively, e.g. “We may want to consider the possibility of changing the date, what do you think?” vs. “I’m saying the date has to be changed.”
  • Sleep on it first, never react when you are frustrated. What seems satisfying in the moment, may have long term consequences.
i just wish they got along
“I just wish they got along…”
  • If bosses don’t like one another
    • If there is a one time disagreement, then see if you can all talk openly about it
    • If they don’t like each other at all, talk to them separately, establish clear goals via email
  • Don’t ever take sides, or let one boss bait you into a conversation about the other boss. “What John says about Sue, says more about John than it does about Sue.”
i m at my wits end
“I’m at my wits end…”
  • If you are in a situation that seems hopeless, then seek counsel from their supervisor
    • You are not there to complain, explain the situation, your efforts to resolved it and ask for guidance. Be ready to provide constructive solutions if asked.
  • As a last resort, consult with Human Resources
  • Ultimately, if you are in a no win situation, remember that you choose how you react to every situation you are presented with, and your career is your responsibility to manage, no one else’s
key takeaways
Key Takeaways…
  • Focus on the advantages of multiple bosses
  • First, it’s about expectations
  • Then it’s all about communication,
    • Scheduled and informal, written and spoken
  • Be clear on your objectives and work in the best interest of your bosses
  • Seek assistance when necessary