Here's a good item to react to - Do you believe it would be good practice for managers to provide a "users manual" of sorts to their direct reports to provide a roadmap of their philosophy, likes/dislikes and pet peeves?
That's the question from a special feature in BusinessWeek, where Ben Dattner believes a "User's Manual to Your Manager" can cut out office dysfunction. Dattner feels by letting your staff know how you operate, you can teach them how to deal with you and avoid conflict.
Here are my thoughts:
-Pros of manager's user guide- Gives your staff fair warning to your hot buttons, including how to impress you, what ticks you off, what your standard operating procedures are, etc. Helpful in that regard..
-Cons of a manager's user's guide - The inclusion of what you don't enjoy (see the section on Feedback below) or dislike as a boss can be used as a crutch. If the user manual includes direction that you don't like to give feedback, then you've given people fair warning and it has a spirit of "that's something I don't enjoy, and no matter how important to you, I'm not going to try to improve." That kind of stinks. Additionally, the inclusion of data on when you are going to react negatively is a similar crutch - there's no reason for you to improve your negative reactions if you've done the negative disclosure route.
The negative items in such a user's guide has a "That's just
Manny Bob being Manny Bob" feel to it. No reason for Bob to try and improve as a manager - he warned us!!
The practice seems a little weak from that perspective. Properly controlling for that, there's some good stuff to be had by such a practice. Here's Dattner's personal user guide as a manager from BusinessWeek. Let me know what you think of his guide...
HOW I WORK
Knowing what makes me tick will help both of us avoid a major meltdown
When I'm under pressure, I get serious. Be ready to answer "why" five times.
WHEN TO APPROACH ME
Please don't bring important issues to my attention if you run into me in the break room.
I value loyalty to our company's values. The CEO gets the same treatment as the janitor.
COMMUNICATING WITH ME
Have conviction for your point of view. I respect people who push back. Be prepared.
WHAT I WILL NOT TOLERATE
I am very unforgiving of people who don't admit to or cover up mistakes.
I don't give much feedback. Assume I'm satisfied with you unless I tell you otherwise.
HOW TO HELP ME
I have a tendency to do things myself. Please suggest things you can take off my plate.