“More, Better” Management Attention, Please

Indeed’s number five reason people leave their jobs is to seek a better management relationship. Indeed states, “If you feel like you need a more supportive manager or supervisor, it may be time to look for a company that values employee-manager relationships more.”

Most likely, if a company has formally communicated that a particular person is your supervisor or manager, they expect that individual to develop a professional working relationship with you and will make this part of their review criteria. They will likely also expect you to cultivate a professional working relationship with that supervisor or manager, making it part of your review criteria. A unified relationship between individuals with direct connection on an organizational chart is instrumental to the success of a project, department, and the overall company itself. Doing your part to build that relationship is critical for your happiness and your (and your supervisor’s) job security.

In any relationship, it takes two, and if either person in the relationship expects the other to do the heavy lifting or they feel they are putting the only effort forth in the relationship, it will fail regardless of whether the company itself values relationships or not. More times than not, a failing supervisor or manager’s behavior is not revealed, so the people who can do something to help are more than willing to but don’t have the opportunity to do so. Have you ever watched the series Undercover Boss?

If you feel you need a more supportive supervisor or manager, start by making sure you can clearly articulate your expectation of what that will look, sound, and be like to meet your needs going forward and not just as a temporary appeasement. Examples that may make you feel as though your manager or supervisor is not supportive of you can be their tone of voice, lack of concern for work-life balance, lack of feedback on job performance, appearance of favoritism toward others, or lack of coaching and training to help you advance within the company.

Next, align your expectations against any time, logistic, or other restraints that could make the solution to the expectation you hope for unreasonable or not possible. Maybe you and your supervisor work primarily from different locations. If that is the case, and you want to sit down with him or her weekly, the compromise might be a monthly face-to-face and weekly Zoom call instead of just phone and text. Most likely, they will be looking to you for a proposed solution.

Third, make sure you are not looking at things one-sidedly. It is common for a person to do well in their job and get promoted. That person is now managing others who are coming up in the company doing the same responsibilities they had before becoming the supervisor. If the manager or supervisor has not received formal leadership training, they may be completely unaware of their managerial shortcomings yet are humble and willing to work on themselves to better serve you.

Your or another’s behavior making you feel less valued is rarely intentional; rather, “you don’t know what you or they don’t know.” It’s no different from parents saying their child did not come with a manual or a teenager who says their parents are mean and unknowledgeable. Employees do not come with manuals either. Every human being is different, and all too often, a manager may approach one employee the same way they do others who don’t find the supervisor’s approach the least bit offensive.

It’s not about what you say, it may be how you say it

Last, take your sensible request to your supervisor in a one-on-one setting. Refrain from starting the conversation with “I need” or “You are not doing.” Open with a question such as “Would it be possible for us to schedule time?” or “Would you have a few minutes for me to discuss something I could use your help with?” If it is the manager’s tone of voice while calling you out in front of others or similar behavior, once your supervisor agrees to listen, communicate clearly what you need and how you propose they solve it: “Jim, would you no longer raise your voice at me when I don’t meet your expectations. It makes me feel devalued and anxious. I would be happy to work on what you want me to improve on. It is important to me that I meet your performance expectations.”

If your manager or supervisor does not adjust their behavior in a reasonable amount of time, it is okay to take it to their supervisor in the same professional manner. If you are doing your job and behaving professionally yourself, doing so should not jeopardize your job in any way when communicated to resolve amicably for all.

If feeling valued by your supervisor is strictly measured by how much one-on-one time or after-hours socializing time you spend together, they might want to spend more time with you also, yet have limited time. Time and fairness to other employees who desire the same may need to be satisfied through conversation and compromise by you and others to satisfy the balance of attention with time.

When you are feeling undervalued by your manager or supervisor, take a moment to seek first an attitude of gratitude: thankfulness for your job, your ability to perform that job, your employer choosing to employ you, your paycheck and benefits, and anything else that helps you be in the right mindset to address what could improve moving forward. This approach can encourage a beneficial outcome and allow time to assess your commitment moving forward.

To “More, Better” Management for You,

Suzanne Breistol


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