I've had a ton of managers over the past 20 years in the
tech publishing biz. Like, lemme see: 22
of 'em, give or take. It's just that kind of industry, restless and volatile
and lousy with reorgs. I was even a manager myself for a brief, soul-sucking,
wholly unrewarding year or so. Definitely not the color of my parachute. Colorof my noose, maybe.
Given those kind of numbers, it's not surprising that I've
also had one or two fabulous and inspiring managers and one or two astoundingly
deficient ones (who have mercifully drifted away to ply their ineffectiveness
elsewhere). So I was keen on publishing Becky Roberts' "10 ways to train
your boss to give you the support you need," a kind of proactiveantidote to the career-crippling fallout generated by bad managers.
Even if you have the best boss in the world, there's some
work to be done—on both sides of the equation—to make sure your manager can
help you do your job. And when managers are just not that sharp or savvy or
committed (or okay, if they're incompetent, driven mad by insecurity, disingenuous,
spiteful, officious, and STOP me), it becomes tremendously important to take
steps to steer them in the right direction. Even if the only thing you can dois try to stay on their radar.
In bad situations, I've maintained a tradition of suffering
in silence (except for copious bitching to peers), always assuming I was stuck
with whatever supervisory hand I'd been dealt. And that's a pretty reasonable approach
for, say, a five-year-old. But for anyone aspiring to be a mature, responsible,
professional employee—a cog, maybe, but a damn fine cog—certain challenges
need to be squarely met. And I'd say looking for ways to help your boss be abetter boss falls into that category.
Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.