Bosses: The Good vs. the Bad

December 20, 2023 00:24:32
Bosses: The Good vs. the Bad
Side of the Desk
Bosses: The Good vs. the Bad

Dec 20 2023 | 00:24:32

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Show Notes

Side of the Desk discusses their experiences with bosses that are both good and more challenging, along with some key advice for managing up. Can you relate? Listen and review our episode. #FidelityAssociate

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Episode Transcript

Justin Welcome to the Side of the Desk podcast hosted by Fidelity Jobs and the Women's Leadership Group. We're here to have deep discussions on the authentic experience of being a working professional in today's ever changing workforce. Justin Welcome to this episode of Side of the Desk. I'm joined by my co-hosts Alicia and Mark, and we're going to be talking about bosses today. We'll have a conversation about what makes a really good boss and then some of our experiences where we've dealt with some bosses that maybe aren't so great. So to kick off this conversation, I'd like to go around the panel and just ask the question, Have you had a good boss? Justin Have you had a bad boss? And then what are some of the characteristics that you've seen in each of those? So, Mark, let's start with you. Mark Yeah. So, Justin, I think we've all had both good and bad bosses. And, you know, in thinking about this subject, I think what made someone a good boss for me early in my career would not be the same as where I am today and where I'll be in the future. So just would love to get into that more as we discuss this. Mark But we've also all had bad bosses, right? And it's just what did you need for support and really, did you get it or did you not? So you are saying here it fidelity is my job is to support you to get to the next role, to help you with your career development, to make you the best you can be within that. Mark And and there have definitely been times where I've not gotten that and there have been times where I have gotten that. And I think all of our bosses are going to be listening to this later. So hello, thank you so much for supporting us in our journey. Alicia, I'm going to pass it off to you to just kind of briefly talk about the same. Alicia Things, Mark. I think that's really interesting. The notion that a good boss when you first started your career is not necessarily the same. I definitely hadn't hadn't thought that far about it. I was kind of when Justin proposed this topic and we were talking about kind of our outline on what we wanted to cover, I was stuck thinking about I've had so many good bosses at Fidelity, so many awesome managers that have supported me in such different ways at different points of my career. Alicia But I think they had a lot of things in common, even though their support expressed itself in different ways. So somebody who's authentic, somebody who is not ever going to ask you to do something that they wouldn't be happy to also take on for themselves somebody who's honest and transparent and who cares about you outside of just what you're doing professionally at work. Alicia I think a good manager or a good boss has an easy element. They're approachable with with personal issues or with professional issues, and there's a good balance that they can kind of bring into your relationship to help it blossom and help you grow as a professional, but also care about you as a person. I think for me, having a boss that was less than ideal is just kind of the opposite of that. Alicia You know, someone who's not transparent, who doesn't care about your personal life and just doesn't show a lot an interest in what you're involved in or what you care about. So luckily, infidelity, fidelity, I've experienced very, very little poor bosses for the large majority. It's been really fantastic and really different individuals that I've been able to learn a lot of different things from. Alicia But that's what I would say. Justin Yes. I think what you all are saying in terms of the experiences that you have early in your career versus maybe mid-way through your career or that some people have later in their careers. It definitely varies. And I know that pre fidelity, when I was first starting outside of college, I had a mix of good and bad bosses, but with it being very early on, having a couple of bad bosses was was really difficult because I had nothing to compare it to. Justin And I thought that that was the way the working world was, that I was going to have to be treated in a manner that was disrespectful, where maybe I was pushed too hard and maybe I wasn't spoken to appropriately. Maybe there were points in time where I felt neglected and I thought that every manager was going to be that way because it was all that I knew. Justin And it wasn't until I started to find some quote unquote good bosses that I realized, okay, there really are different personalities and different traits and characteristics that you get from different managers, and then you see both sides do it. And then before you know it, when you're going on job interviews, you're looking for certain traits and characteristics in the people that you will be reporting to. Justin But, you know, I think one topic that I want to bring up around bad bosses before we really get into some more about good bosses is the emotions and struggles that you have personally when you have a bad boss. One struggle that I've had in the past when having, you know, a poor manager has been letting it bleed into my personal life and taking it home with me outside of work. Justin So what types of emotions are struggles have you all had when you've had a poor boss or manager before? Alicia Yeah, I think that definitely echoes bleeding into your personal life. Just and it does the same thing for me. It just if I don't have a good manager, I think back to again, like you said, my, my pre fidelity days is when I experienced this the most. And I remember one time I came home and it was right after college and I was I was still living at home and I was so frustrated with whatever my boss was doing and I can't remember now, but I remember being frustrated and feeling like he didn't trust me and and I wasn't doing good enough. Alicia I wasn't bringing value and I wasn't executing properly on whatever my responsibilities were. But I knew I was. And I really hated that feeling of not feeling valued. And I remember my dad looked at me and said, Your job is to make him look good. And I had this moment of like, No, that can't be like that. That cannot be all that I'm here to do. Alicia Like, that's ridiculous. Like, no, I need to be treated like in a certain way and not in an entitled way at all, but with respect. And I think it's it's really challenging and it's really frustrating for somebody who is achievement oriented and wants to do a good job and wants to take pride in our work to not have the recognition of of a boss who who cares about those things that you bring to the table and the things that you offer up and how you're delivering on a project or something. Alicia But at the same time, like that was kind of good for me to hear when my dad was basically like, suck it up because, because then I was kind of able to get over it quicker. And, you know, honestly, it was a less than ideal situation, but it wasn't really hurting anybody and it wasn't impacting my performance. I was just a little frustrated and being told to suck it up was was kind of good. Alicia Like I got over it and then was able to go back to work the next day with a decent attitude and instead of harboring like the resentment towards my boss, one that fester and grow and and then, you know, maybe it would have turned out differently. But yeah, being told that kind of suck it up was was a good it's a good thing I don't know if anyone else's parents don't have to suck it up but definitely a good experience with a with a not so great boss. Mark Too. To just expand on what Alicia was saying is, you know, part of it is definitely approaching it from a non you know, this isn't me being entitled perspective, but you know, you are supposed to make your boss look good. You're supposed to make it look effortless. So how do you do that without sacrificing yourself? And I think that's something where if you reference some of our earlier podcast from this year, you know about boundaries at work and, you know, even our meditation episode, just figuring out how to center yourself in bringing your authentic self into that situation, that definitely is something that is helpful because emotions do, you know, tend to, to get elevated Mark when you're in a scenario when someone controls your finances to a point. So with bad bosses, right, or perceived bad bosses, you're really looking at and what experience do I have? You know, to Justin's point, is this something that, you know, is the expectation going forward? Do I need to find something new? You know, who can I talk to? Mark Do I have any mentors? So just finding ways to continuously deliver and, you know, meet and exceed expectations, but also open up communication channels because, you know, I had a boss first starting out here where we just didn't make the connection. And it was up to me to kind of manage up a little bit to understand how to communicate with this manager so that I could understand what they were really asking of me. Mark And I think managing up is the way to really overcome some of these things. Obviously, there's going to be some bosses that you just can't get around being bad bosses. That's just the nature of working for someone. But I think if you can position yourself in a way that makes them look good and help them and understand them more, that's really what can help you get over the hump and then maybe move to another position that gets you in a in that spot. Justin So, Mark, Mark, you mentioned managing up, and I think that is a really important tactic, something we've all had to do when we've had bosses who maybe don't make the greatest boss in the world. Managing is really difficult. And some of us here who are people managers know that, you know, it really does take a lot of commitment and it takes training and it takes a lot of growth in order to be a good manager slash boss. Justin And it's not for everyone. However, when we are talking about managing up, there are different tips and tactics. One of mine would be, you know, I would encourage somebody when they are struggling with their manager slash boss to try to get to a place where you can have an open conversation about what some of the struggles are. I think that's really important and that's not something everyone's comfortable with. Justin But I've had to have those conversations before with the boss and say it's really difficult for me to do my job well when the following happens. How can I better earn your trust, for example? And I think, like I said, while those things can be difficult, at the end of the day, you can't always choose your manager and you don't know how long you're going to have your manager for. Justin So sometimes what you put in is what you can get out of it. What are some of your tips for managing up? Alicia I think it's important to note that when we talk about managing up or managing your boss or a bad boss, so to speak, like we're not we're not talking about the person being a bad person. We're we're just talking about things that either weren't working for you, managerial styles that weren't working for you. Maybe this person didn't get appropriate training. Alicia Maybe this is a short term thing, but managing up definitely can be a good bridge to get to a better working relationship, a better day to day, being honest, asking for transparency, having some actionable feedback that you can give to a manager in a respectful way and constantly framing it in a way that you're able to show that you're taking initiative, that you want to succeed, you want to build a positive relationship because that is something that you can build to, even if you know, to start out, your boss isn't super ideal. Alicia You can build a relationship to turn it into a more positive working relationship and something that fits for both the manager and for yourself. Mark What are some things that you would say? And then we started to highlight them a little bit at the beginning of the episode. But what are some positive characteristics you would say make up a good boss? Mark My thoughts here just around good bosses and shout out my boss. I think he's great. Hi Jeff. I really value the freedom and trust that we've built so that he's able to trust me to get things done and to move forward. And I think that getting that trust is something that I've continuously worked for and I really like to hear it reinforced it and see it reinforced. Mark So it it's not all pizza parties and everything else, but it's the words of affirmation that make me know that I'm doing the right things. And it's also the ability to go and have those personal conversations about, you know, hey, this is going on, this is what's happening, or know, hey, it's my birthday, I'm taking the day off. Mark And, you know, just those type of celebrations of you not just focusing on work. So it's it's something that comes back to you and is really empowering you. So that, I think, is one of the main characteristics, is just empowering the associate the individual to really feel like their work matters. Because what you're doing does fidelity is massive, but you know, each and every one of us do contribute to the changes and the positivity that is here because, you know, you could have somebody that doesn't empower you and that's not going to get you going. Mark But if you're empowered and that's both personally and professionally, that's a huge win. Justin I know having worked with you on a few things, just the positive reinforcement, just as coworkers has been great. Is there anything that you get from your boss or prior bosses that have really made a a big difference for you? Justin Yeah, leading with empathy. I think bosses that can lead with empathy and can truly be understanding of their directs make a really big difference because at the end of the day, we all want to be heard and we all want to be understood. And I think really strong managers are able to make those kinds of connections with their reports. Justin So whether report is going through a hard time, whether they're struggling with something, whether it's at work or in their personal life, having a manager that takes the time to understand that we're all human and that our lives go beyond just work and how can they help us in our role and feel good so that we can focus on the work that's in front of us, even when things outside of work maybe aren't that great? Justin So it's all about relatability for me. And I've been lucky enough where I feel like some of the great bosses I've had established that early on, and it sets up trust between the two of you and when you can go to your job every day and you trust your manager, you trust your boss, you're able to focus on just doing your best work. Justin You're not worrying about pleasing them all the time. You're not afraid to make a mistake. You're not walking on eggshells with them. Wondering, is today the day my boss is going to blow up at me again? No, you're just focused on really good work. So for me, it's all about relationships and empathy and understanding each other. Alisha, how about you? Alicia I totally agree. I also have a really amazing boss right now, and I absolutely always feel like she has my back. She's so caring. There's a great mix of personal and professional and and she's really knowledgeable, so she's able to guide me through the specific part of my career as this specific phase of my career and at a strategic lens, the things, but also doesn't let things get too far away from the personal. Alicia And and I feel like she takes a genuine interest in me and me succeeding wherever that that might mean. So. Recently I was promoted and in large part that was due to her and her having my back and going to bat for me and making sure that she and I had a clear plan for my development and my transition. Alicia And it feels really good to have that level of support so that you can just focus on bringing your best every day and learning everything that you can. Because when someone has your back like that, you want to deliver for them. You want to make them look as great as you can because they are such a great they've given you such a great motivation and, and a standard to strive for. Alicia Mark, Any, any similar echoes? Mark I can't help but just echo that in everything that's been said here is really just the positive things that your bosses can do for you. And having that rapport and that relationship underscored with knowing that they have their back is really what brings you to the next level. And congratulations. Alisha That's huge. It's amazing what happens when you work at a great company with a great boss, somebody who's got your back with that rapport. Mark And that's just living proof of what we're talking about today. Is that how you work with your manager can get you to the next step when you're having those conversations. And that's, you know, that's the characteristics that we're looking for to go work for. And I think that that's something that know, as you think about, you know, going for a job interview and asking those questions. Mark And there's definitely things that you can do when you're interviewing to figure out, is this person going to be a good boss? Are they going to be a bad boss? And you can also find that out through the culture that they've created. If they have other people that work with them, any direct reports, anything of that nature? Fidelity's a very open company where, you know, internally we're able to reach out to people and talk going through the hiring process. Mark So that's been really helpful to sit in. And then, you know, even from an external candidate experience, you know, typically there's more than, you know, just one round of interviews and you're able to talk to individuals in and around the role. So you have that capable to ask questions like and what is your management style or how how do you envision us working together? Mark Or I've got this skill set and where do you think we're compatible with in this role? And those are some questions that I've asked throughout careers. Has there been any questions that you've asked a hiring manager or ones that you wish you could have? Justin I'd say giving. I'd say give concrete examples and work situations in the interview process early on and ask them directly how they would handle that and what some of their experiences would be, and also asking them what some of their other reports or peers would say about their management style. I think I'd be curious to hear a hiring manager actually self-reflect and explain to you directly how they view themselves. Justin And I can tell you, managing people here, Fidelity now has been an amazing experience for me. I love managing people. It's enjoyable and fulfilling for me to be able to give something back, to teach my reports, something about social media, something about marketing, something that they can take with them, hopefully as they continue to grow in their career. Justin But one of the things that I've really learned has been you cannot manage every person the same way. You have to understand the different personalities and the different dynamics that you have from person to person on your team. Some of your reports need extra empathy. Some of them need extra sensitivity in terms of how you manage them, where some need a lot more independence, and to feel that they have a lot more of your trust. Justin Some need to be pushed a little bit and need a little bit of tough love at times, especially if they have potential that they're not reaching. Everybody responds differently to different tactics. It's up to a manager to identify what their reports need to be the best version of themselves. And I think one thing that I've really learn, too, is that, you know, you have to constantly adjust. Justin You can't just manage the same way. So I would ask you all, you know, if you're managing people, what are some of the tactics you found helpful? Or if you're not, do you want to manage? Is there anything that you see about being a manager that appeals to you, and how would you be as a manager? What are some things you would implement? Justin Mark, let's start with you. Mark I think this is really great timing for me right now because I just got my first direct report, so I'm trying to take all of this and internalize it to remember what it's like, you know, getting someone new as your manager or, you know, what kind of styles exist. And rereading some books and listening to podcasts just like this one. Mark And, you know, understanding everybody is different. And I think it's flexibility and communication that I found so far that have been key, right? Because no one works the same way I do, and I can't immediately have expectations that everything's perfect. I have to take a step back and realize that, you know, we need to have a plan. What is the onboarding look like? Mark How do you get people access? It could be the most basic things. And just realizing that I don't need to be their best friend. All right. We're not going to say, Hey, bestie, come hang out with me on Saturday at the club. This is we need that build rapport like we talked about earlier and gain trust and understand that, you know, from the very beginning, we're setting the tone of here's where I think we can go. Mark Here's all the potential I see in you. Let's bring that out of you. And that's really a great timing for me to have this whole podcast coming out because it's a good refresher on what we can take a look at with an my, my new direct report. So it's exciting. Alicia, any other thoughts there? Alicia No, I mean, I think it's it's an interesting perspective for you and Justin to offer to me. I have not had direct reports, but it's interesting to me to think about do I want to have direct reports at some point in my life? Do I feel like that's where I want to take my career? And and I do think it's a it's a a little bit higher stakes and a little bit more pressure, but maybe in a good way. Alicia And we'll see if that's where it goes. But this is definitely a great conversation to think about and consider before you commit to a role that does have direct reports or could in the future. And obviously you wouldn't want to strive to be a bad boss. So you have to think about, you know, some of the characteristics that you that you'd embody from our discussion today and maybe your own experience is that would help you to be the best boss you could for any potential director that you'd ever have. Justin Well, hopefully everybody found something resourceful and helpful in this commerce ation. I think, again, we've all had some really great experiences and certainly in our careers, some challenging ones. But as always, it's all about learning and growing, finding your way through different stages of your career and trying to take something away. And for us, it's, it's to give something back to our audience. Justin Hopefully resourceful tips and tricks so that when you're dealing with either a great manager or you're becoming a manager, or if you're struggling with a manager, you can find something that we we discussed today to be helpful. So thanks for tuning into this episode of Side of the Desk, and we'd love to hear from our audience. If you can comment below about some of your personal experiences with your bosses, please do so and don't forget to subscribe and like side of the desk wherever you get your podcasts and we'll talk to you soon. Justin Thank you for listening to this side of the desk episode and thank you to our recording studio and editors who make our episodes possible for more information about working at Fidelity, check out Fidelity Careers dot com.

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