Can you give some strategies for dealing with a new boss who lacks the skills and experience needed to be the boss? Obviously, having a positive attitude is important but that can only go so far when you're dealing with continued incompetence. It's not like the boss is a bad employee, just not qualified to be the head of a department.
So, why is this person the boss? Do they have the expertise or background? I ask since someone must have felt that they were the best choice for the job. If you are saying they have the technical skills but not the managerial skills, that can be a real problem that sometimes occurs when individuals are promoted yet do not have the managerial skills. Can you offer suggestions to the person regarding leadership types of situations? Would they take those in a good way? Some bosses are okay with others giving them advice. For example, I have known bosses who are fine if someone tells them how to conduct performance reviews since they know they have never done these before. Other bosses don't want the advice from an employee, but may take advice from a peer or their own boss. What is your situation with your boss? Would he/she take advice from you or another peer or can you make some suggestions to his/her boss? This might be a good strategy.
Hi, Joyce – Just an offer of hope for those looking for a job. I just went through a frustrating job search. (Aren’t they all!) I had walked away from a toxic situation – still believe it was the right decision – but bo,y is it true that it’s easier to look while you’re employed! I could not believe how many ‘nibbles’ I got that led to nothing and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was because I’d left a job. I also suspected ‘ageism’ at work. One recruiter told me that we’d be going forward and that his security person would call me to start the clearance process. A few minutes later the security person called and the first question she asked was my DoB. I know that’s required for a clearance, so I gave it. She hemmed and hawed about foreign relatives for a few minutes, then said they’d get back to me with next steps. I left a voicemail for the recruiter a few days later, but heard nothing. So, after 10 months of this kind of behavior I found myself talking with a company that put me through four phone screens and four in-person interviews (8 different people). Each person assured me I was ‘the best fit’ for this job, but the decision guy would not pull the trigger. Then I got a call from a company who set an interview after a brief phone screen. They called me back a few days later to meet the CEO and they called that evening to offer me the job. It’s the best work/life balance I’ve had in years. It’s a hectic pace each day, but with no evenings or weekends. And the company dynamic is great – generally friendly and upbeat. Things truly do work out for the best – it usually just takes longer than we would like.
Thanks for sharing your insights and experiences! Great points you made as well. It is important to look for a job while you are employed since future employers really do not know if you are miserable in your current job or you are just looking for more opportunities. So, staying employed if possible makes you look more attractive to future employers who sometimes feel like they are now trying to "woo" you away. Also, you mentioned another good point about being careful about giving information on your age. It is best to try to avoid this (if you are over 50) if possible because sadly, some employers or individuals are biased against hiring older people. If you can take off the dates of your graduations,etc., off of your resume, this would be best.
Glad things are working out for you. Sounds like your patience and persistence really paid off! Best of luck!
Any book or article suggestions for a first-time supervisor? I've worked for a lot of people who I don't want to emulate.
Great question and good for you to realize you want to get additional training to be the best possible supervisor. There are plenty of books on this topic. I really like a number of books by Kouzes and Posner (The Leadership Challenge, Truths about Leadership, etc) since they use lots of practical examples to share key tips and strategies. Also, reading books about the value of creating a motivational environment and using recognition and appreciation in the workplace (The Carrot Principle, The Orange Revolution) are also important for your success in building a highly engaged workplace. Another idea would be to ensure that you collect data when you start your job (from employees). Listen to them and ask them "How can I best serve you as your supervisor - what kinds of things can I do to help you be successful in your job?" These types of questions really let them know that you are there to support and serve them and that really is the role of an effective supervisor. Best of luck!
Add to that list for the first time manager - Anything by Allison Green of askamanager.org She's brilliant.
Great. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Joyce, I'm fishing up my master's in Health Science/Community Health next month. This is a career change for me from editing, which I have been doing for the past 15 years (working freelance for the past three). Most job listings want experience in the field. Other than an internship last summer, I have none, but do have 12 years of experience in office settings. Any suggestions on how to approach these applications? Also, in terms of references, I have my adviser (who is head of the grad program) and someone from my internship. For the third, is it better to have another professor (within the field) or a former supervisor (not in the field)? Thanks!
Great questions. Congratulations on finishing up your master's degree! First, I would definitely use your professors as your references since they are in your new field. Do they have connections to employers that can hire you? I would spend time with as many of your professors as you can to build stronger networks and connections - even if it is with people to talk to and get career advice from. You just need all your professors to give you names and introductions to people in the field, and then it is good to contact those folks not to ask for a job, but to ask for career advice. Most people are happy to provide advice and if they can then send your resume to other folks or connect you to others that can help. Make sure to give your professors a recent copy of your resume and identify for them your key attributes that you want mentioned to others. Also, you can talk with them about how you can show the translation of your previous experience to your new field. Some of your skills will probably translate - you just have to help them see what you did before and how it can be relevant. This is important so that you can identify these aspects and then use this to gain interviews with employers. Look at what the new jobs are requesting in terms of skills and try to make the connection to your previous jobs (e.g., leadership skills, oral communication, customer or client service, etc). Building your network through your school contacts and the Health field will be the best way for you to gain entry into this field. Best of luck!