By now you’ve probably heard the terms “micro-manager” and “macro-manager”. For me, a macro-manager is preferred—someone who trains you up front then trusts you to do your job. (With some follow-up, of course.) While there is a time for micro-management, typically when you are new and are being developed, some managers have trouble getting to that hands-off stage.
Many years ago I had a couple of rounds with micro-managers. The first time I responded the wrong way. I ran! I interviewed with another division and even outside the company. What I discovered was, I really love my job. And I decided I wasn’t going to let someone run me away from it. So I continued to do my best and within a month my manager was promoted. Even better, I’d worked with my new manager before. She knew my work-ethic and she allowed me to do my job without constantly peeking over my shoulder.
Later I learned a better way to deal with the situation. Give a micro-manager what he wants before he asks for it. If he likes reports first thing Monday, get them to him on Friday night. He doesn’t think you can handle coordinating an event without daily updates. Put it together and you call a meeting to discuss the details instead of the other way around. That way you eliminate the need for follow-up and, hopefully, he’ll come to you with praise instead.
That being said, don’t burn bridges. You never know when you’ll find yourself working with the same people a second time around in a corporation. You might even encounter them if you change jobs. Twice in my career I’ve worked under the same manager. Imagine if we’d ended on the wrong foot the first time around. It would make getting up to go to work very difficult.
Many an opportunity will come your way due to networking. But what opportunities do you find appealing? Like many new grads you might still be in a place where you’re trying to figure out where you’d like to go in your career. What better way to find out than by doing some research. If there is an avenue you think you’d like, talk to the people in those roles both in and outside your organization. What are their likes and dislikes about the position? What are the qualifications? Will you need more training or education?
Check out the list under Mix It Up (Part 2) for some more ideas. While it refers to adding responsibilities to your plate it can also apply for your research of possible careers.
Find a mentor, even if one was assigned to you. In your career you should seek out both formal and informal mentors. Not only can they help you learn your job, they can help you learn more about the organization. Just choose wisely (see Catty Co-Workers).
When I first became a recruiter I had no idea what to do. How should I spend my days? Where was I supposed to find candidates? I reached out to an existing recruiter within the company. She was able to give me some guidance all those years ago and even now I still reach out to her to get her feedback on ideas. Keep in mind, your mentors don’t have to work in your company and they don’t have to work in the same industry. They don’t even have to look like you!
Take advantage of opportunities to meet upper management. If a few people are going out after work, join them at least on occasion. Maybe it’s a bar and you don’t drink. Order lemonade, hang out for a half-hour and go home. I know from experience ordering a non-alcoholic drink in itself will make you memorable. Now when I arrive my colleagues already have my Cherry Coke on the table. If you do partake, however, don’t be the guy doing the drunken karaoke that becomes the topic around the break room the next day.
Appreciation events, holiday parties and committees are all great ways to meet some supervisors you might never encounter otherwise. Chat about things of interest and slip in a few details about your accomplishments and your desire to advance. Yes, the best candidate will and should get the promotion, but what an opportunity to get to know those making the hiring decision and let them get to know you in a more casual setting. Don’t miss out.
Next time we’ll wrap it up with a few more tips to make your transition into your career a smooth one.