Job Hunting? Find the Right Boss.

You’re about to head into an interview; you’re nervous but prepared, you think you can do the role and you think that you’ve got the qualities that the company needs.

But what about your needs?

Sure, you’ve thought about it and decided the role is one you would enjoy.

And you know that working for that company will help you build your career and improve your CV.

And the extra money would be handy too; maybe you’ve thought about that!

However, what’s often overlooked by job hunters is assessing their future manager.

This is really important because team members thrive when they have a manager that sets clear expectations of performance and notices their effort and contribution towards the organisation’s goals.

A boss that does this well will make your working life more enjoyable and since work is a big part of anyone’s life, it’s a big deal.

This has been borne out by research done by Gallup and highlighted in an interesting commentary of theirs on Zappos, the company that abandoned management structures and managers in favour of a ‘holacracy’.

Their main point is that companies that have tried to eliminate managers (Google is one such company), usually revert to a traditional structure because the removing of managers:

  1. makes workers feel that no one (in the company) cares about what they need;
  2. means workers have no one to set expectations for them to meet (and no one to discuss their progress with).

So it shows that your manager is actually really important to you and can have a major impact not just on your career but your health and well being as well.

So back to your interview: try to find out who your manager will be and if possible, assess if you can build a working relationship with him or her.

Admittedly (and ironically) interviews are terrible places for getting to know people, so ideally you’ll have other less formal opportunities to talk with your future leader.

And if you know someone within the company who can help you assess him or her, then that’s even better.

If none of that is available, and yet you win and accept the job, use the probation period to make a careful and sober assessment of your manager and the type of working relationship that has developed thus far.

Is he or she setting clear expectations and paying attention to the work that you’re doing?

If yes, then you’ll almost certainly be enjoying your job and looking forward to a good career at the company.

But if not, and if you feel that you can’t get what you need, then it’s probably time to look for another role elsewhere.  Because a good boss is worth searching for.

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