My grandfather had a very large glass jar filled with pennies and nickels. At age 7, he said I could keep all the pennies and nickels taken out of the jar in one grasp. I dipped my hand deeply into the jar to load up as many as possible… a treasure-trove. However, I found the neck of the jar was smaller than my full hand. In order to extract my hand, I had to lose most of the coins. My grandfather thought that was remarkably humorous. I, on the other hand, thought it wasn’t funny at all. That’s the memory I have of my grandfather, with a prank that defined him in my mind.
So it is with a favorite manager or a least favorite manager. You tend to remember with fondness those who helped you versus those who didn’t. I remember a small number of teachers, managers, and mentors who helped me grow and dramatically expand my world.
On the other hand, I remember some managers who gave me very little support or were an impediment. All the rest in the middle are a blur.
These are the things I remember most about my most outstanding supervisors. They:
- Helped me believe in the mission, objectives and our ability to succeed
- Encouraged me to perform at a higher level than I thought possible
- Created an atmosphere of team effort, while expecting individual contributions
- Kept things light but purposeful when the pressure built. No one was called out.
- Shared success and celebrated our achievements together
- Communicated effectively by working collaboratively for the good of the project
- Shared the credit with all of us and took responsibility for missteps
These are the things I remember about my worst supervisors: They:
- Always looked for someone to blame when things didn’t turn out well
- Kept a wall between them and us, while seeking credit with upper management
- Created a fear between and among the working group through criticism
- Tried to lead through their title rather than through their contribution or value
- Tended to manage through fiat rather than example or encouragement
- Communicated in a “telling” way rather than an engaging or involving way
- Played politics within the group or with higher ups to gain advantage
Throughout your career you leave a trail of memories and perceptions of how others remember you. What one word would co-workers or bosses use to describe you? Is it the word you want them to use?
The words you use on your resume and in your interview have the same effect. You can be seen as a goal directed, team oriented, resulted driven candidate or just the opposite depending upon how you position yourself in your job search strategy. It’s important to form a picture that you want in the mind of a hiring manager. Make sure you know how to do that.
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