Catherine's Career Corner
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August 17th, 2011
This is What Your Manager is Thinking!

Trust me, perception is everything. Do you know how you are perceived or how your behaviour at work is perceived by your manager? Well, let’s explore what your manager is thinking by some of what you do or say at work.

What manager is thinking

By Catherine Adenle

If you can’t stand your Manager and you haven’t got a letter of appointment from another organisation, then you have to care about how you are perceived by your Manager.

Perception is everything and people use your behaviour as a parameter to determine how they perceive you.

If you get on well with your Manager and don’t have anything against him or her, have you ever wondered what he thinks of you? Does he see you as a hard-working member of staff who goes above and beyond or as a clueless brownnoser?

Ok, let’s try and take a peek inside your Managers’ heads and minds. This is what your manager is thinking:

 You roll into work blazing at exactly nine o’clock and leave at exactly five o’clock everyday regardless of what is going on in your team or group…

What your Manager is thinking: He is thinking, great, he’s punctual and he’s good with time keeping. However, if there is an important project that has to be completed in a rocket urgent manner by a certain deadline, and all hands are on the deck, and you are still going into your car at 5:01 p.m. everyday regardless, the message you’re sending is that: ‘I really don’t care. My Manager and colleagues can toss off! I have come in to do my hours! My hours are done, so why should I stay behind? I have punched the clock and I am out.’

My tip: Waiting for thirty minutes will not kill you especially if you have no urgent issues to attend to after work. Trust me, going home, vegetating in front of your Plasma TV in your flowery pyjamas with a TV remote control on your left hand while you dunk a biscuit into your perfect mug of tea is not going to get you anywhere career wise.

You can always get to work early and stay about fifteen minutes late. By so doing, you are showing that you are engaged. I really do not need to tell you that in this day and age when the economy is not doing well, you have to be focused on any task at hand, not the ticking clock on the wall by your desk.

Get on with it, join your team, colleagues and Manager to get the job done, which sometimes means working past your office hour times.

See being part of a team at work

  You are a chatter box in the office but you seem to always loose your voice during meetings as you never speak up. You’d rather doodle…

What your Manager is thinking: He thinks you are clueless and a bit of a wall picture when it comes to adding your own contributions into the midst of other ideas. He is also thinking, gosh, I like him/her but why on earth did I employ someone that is always quiet and can’t speak up in meetings?

He is saying, how come, he/she has nothing to say about anything, is this due to lack of confidence? In addition,  he’s thinking, ok, I don’t want a Chatty Charlie but then I certainly don’t want a Dull Daniel. Trust me; you are not going to be invited to important meetings especially if a bit of brainstorming is required there. It also looks particularly bad if he catches you doodling or pinging on your Blackberry.

My tip: You have to speak when you have something important and beneficial to add to meetings. Don’t just speak up for speaking up sake. Ensure that you are not the one who is always trying to out speak everyone. Do not be known as the one with the negative remarks too. Instead be enthusiastic and balance your views, justify your opinion with reasons. Be energized, get engaged and ensure that you are a go-getter. Employees who get remembered for promotions most often stay focused in meetings and chime in with intelligent comments.

Now, if you lack confidence or you are naturally shy, that’s another matter. Speak to your Manager in your 1-2-1 meeting so that he is aware. However, if you would rather be swallowed by an imaginary gaping hole in the meeting room than speak up in a meeting, then think about a thoughtful follow-up email to the team that says, “I’ve been thinking about the discussion we had at the meeting today. How about we try…?” In any case, you cannot always do this. So, I’ll recommend that you face your fear head on and speak up once or twice in meetings to see if the roof will cave in or not. If you start, little by little, then, you will boost your confidence in no time.

See 5 Tips for Confidently Speaking up at Meetings

 What is your Manager thinking when you always take an unplanned time off work with various excuses?

What your Manager is thinking: “I am dying, the flu got hold of my body,” “The dog ate my car key,” “the fish in my aquarium died a sudden death because it had a head on collision with the aquatic plant in the aquarium,” “I have been abducted by aliens,” (don’t laugh!). If you have no qualms about letting excuses roll off your tongue at the drop of a hat, then I am sure that you must have an idea of what your Manager is thinking. Forget your Manager, your colleagues can’t stand you either. Excuses, even when valid, are never impressive. Your Manager is thinking, I can’t wait to get rid of him. Any opportunity to make cuts, you will be the first one out. If you are genuinely sick, this does not apply as your Manager will be aware anyway.

My tip: Just stop taking any unnecessary times off work. Stop coming up with the stupid excuses and do the job you are being paid to do. If you are paid just for the days you appear at work, would you still take all those times off? If you own your own business, wouldn’t you work on those days? Investigate through self reflections the reasons why you don’t like your job. Once you know the reasons, then, derive solutions to address the problem. If you don’t, your reputation career wise is in jeopardy. You never know where and when you will meet any of your colleagues in future and don’t even think of asking your boss for a reference letter if you are seeking another job.

  What does your Manager think when you give critical feedback openly regarding his work?

What your Manager is thinking: Now, while it is ok to disagree with your Manager’s ideas once in a while, don’t make it a habit. If you are always critical of your Manager, he is thinking, he is undermining me and my ideas. In addition, he is thinking, he thinks he is better than me and can do my job better than I do it.

In his quiet moment your Manager is saying in his mind, I can’t stand him because he disrespects me. I will get rid of him if he continues to behave that way.

My tip: Public criticism of your Manager is a ‘no-no’! It is NEVER a fine idea. Don’t get carried away, even when you are at the pub after office hours with him and your colleagues – even in joking, it is not cool. Great teams support each other and their leaders. I am not saying that it doesn’t mean you can’t disagree with your Manager’s ideas. I like solid contentions backed with meaningful reasons. You will help your Manager if you critic his ideas and offer your reasons for disagreeing in private. He is bound to respect you if you handle giving the feedback well. Learn to pick your battles sparingly, make your arguments to him, face to face, and not behind his back, and do it in private. Public dissension sends signals that you are gunning for his job. Agreed, some Managers just don’t get it. However, ensure that you study your Manager, and learn the best way to voice your opinion on things to him.

See How to Give Your Boss Feedback: Best Practice

Now that you have read this post, do you have any questions regarding what your Manager might be thinking on certain issues? If you do, let us know, add them to the comment box below.

Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.

4 thoughts on “This is What Your Manager is Thinking!

  1. I am a manager and I can categorically say you are right. Sometimes, I wish I could tell my staff exactly what I think about them, only if they knew!

  2. I like this blog post because I work with a lady who throws in sickies all the time. I can’t wait for my mamager or the company to sack her. We are all tired of doing her work for her just to meet our collective target. She’s taking the mickey. My manager is sick of her sickirs too.

  3. Catherine, I want to know, what is my Manager thinking when I walk into his office with a cup of coffee without him asking me for one? I caught some of my colleagues rolling their eyes when I got him one last week. Is it wrong? Greetings from LA by the way.

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