Stressed Working For Multiple Bosses?

Author: IAM Team

Employees these days, particularly administrative staff, can find themselves working for multiple bosses. In theory, separating your week out into a certain amount of days for each seems sensible, but unfortunately the reality often or not is each of those bosses will see themselves as the priority.

Communication: Expectations, Style And Boundaries.

With multiple bosses often comes multiple sets of expectations. Similarly, things can become even trickier if all those bosses have conflicting agendas or views of the company’s direction, which ultimately will feed into your projects. Communication is therefore key. Firstly, like with other colleagues you need to judge the best communication style to use with each, some like face-to-face meetings, whilst others are happy with an update email, if you figure out which each wants from the get go, it will help you in the long run.

Secondly, as Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio says “the best way to please any manager of any two or three managers is to communicate clearly, leaving very little to chance. For example, be clear about deadlines and deliverables, the people who have the most trouble with these types of situations are those that don’t communicates well, take things personally, gossip, and/or get overly emotional. You need thick skin and a confident demeanour to survive and thrive, remember you are there to do a job, so focus on the results”. If it a case that some of your projects are becoming conflicting because of different views, flag this. Think about what is not marrying up and come up with a middle ground.

You will also find yourself needing to set appropriate boundaries. One of your bosses may like to micromanage your work, meaning that in the long run your ability to work starts to become affected by their interruptions. You can address this in a professional, polite way, that you feel you need less management or that you would like some extra responsibility. Setting boundaries early on is crucial to transfer this long term and prevent any conflict in the workplace.

Multiple Projects: Negotiate And Define Your Roles And Responsibilities.

The next most common problem is the fact you will have multiple projects to manage. You should make sure you keep track of what projects you have on-going and make this clear to each party. This could be as simple as an excel spreadsheet, or just adding your tasks and deadlines into your calendar which is viewable to all. Tracking this won’t just help you monitor your activity, but it will also help you negotiate your deadlines. Ultimately most bosses will respect this, as it means you will get the job done properly. Although you may get some resistance from some people, it does mean you start to identify who is ultimately more flexible.

Clarifying your roles and responsibilities will also help alleviate some stress and prevent you getting confused with what you’re expected to do and by whom. An easy way to do this is to look at the roles of those around you and write down the tasks which you think should fall onto your desk. This will give you something to present to your managers and see if they agree.

Use The Chain Of Command To Your Benefit

Working for multiple people can have its advantages. Is there a particular area that you see your career progressing to? Does one of your bosses have more experience in this area? If you do it correctly, you can start to gain experience and shape your career through the experience of those you are exposed to.



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