Why You Should Hear Your Boss But Not Listen To Him
Your boss may be a big and scary woman or a complete pushover — at the end of the day, he or she really just want one thing: results. Bosses may not know it, but they don't want you to actually do as they say…they just want to see the results that they are hoping for. The problem with most bosses or managers is that they get too caught up on having things done their own way. It's either their way or the highway — but what's to say that the highway won't get you to the same place?
Possibly in a more pleasing and faster manner? Not too many bosses are open to having things done differently. It's understandable; why try new ways when you have one way that already works? That's fine and dandy if you hope to keep the business exactly where it is, but the only way to allow a business to grow and strive is to continually be thinking of newer and better ways to provide the same services to the customer. This all starts with the employee.
In largest part, a business is the sum of the skills and abilities of its employees. A product or service could be great, but without the right people behind the idea, you will be left with nothing but debt. It's the businesses that give the most leniency in terms of employee work methods and openness to new ideas that succeed the most — there's plenty of research out there to back my statement.
Giving employees the creative right to make tweaks in the finished product or service may only be a good idea if said employees are under strict management supervision — an employee should not have the last say on anything. However, I believe that there should be much more leniency in the workplace in terms of the work process itself than there currently is today in most companies and industries.
It's an archaic method of management to keep employees and the work they do under strict surveillance. It comes down to this: if you don't trust an employee then why keep him on board? If you can't trust her to do her work on her own, by her own methods, in order to produce work that you find, at the very least, sufficient, then fire her. All that really matters at the end of the day is that the work gets done and gets done properly.
One thing that is important to keep in mind is that if every employee completes his or her work in the same exact fashion every single time, then all the opportunities for innovation that would have become available are flushed down the toilet. If you repeat the same actions and use the same approach every single time then you will get just about the same result every single time — minus some wiggle room for errors. In other words, a company that gives its employees little to no leeway is banking on mistakes for innovation. Silly.
What your boss really wants — even though she may not understand it — is for you to complete your work and, hopefully, go beyond that to help improve the company. When you restrict working methods, you restrict creativity and innovation. Your direct boss may only care that you do as you're tasked, but your boss's boss surely cares more about the bottom line and the future of his company then how you get from point A to point B during your 9 to 5. Complete the tasks that you are asked to complete, but complete them on your own terms.
Only a lunatic — and I'm not saying such bosses don't exist — would fire you for getting the job done by different means if the means you took did not affect the end result whatsoever. If you can complete a job more efficiently then you should always do so. If you believe you have a great idea that could help the company, then make sure that it is heard — don't be complacent and follow the herd.
If your goal is one day to be your boss's boss, then focus on impressing those that matter. If you take initiative and show that you are intelligent, capable and hungry to get things done, then I promise you that your hard work will eventually be noticed by someone — if not your own boss then possibly that of the company's competition.
Assuming that your boss is a smart, reasonable, logical person, then if you're work changes things for the better, she won't hold it against you. If, however, being efficient on your own terms and a little creative is not appreciated or held as acceptable then you may want to reconsider whom you work for. If you can't get creative then you can't grow as a person and you will never love your job.
Allowing employees some leniency gives them a feeling of independence — a feeling that goes a long way. If you want employees to do the most for your business then allow them to be a part of it, a part of the software and ideas that goes into a company and not just the hardware, the manual labor.
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