I Do Not Think My Boss Gets It
September 30, 2014
One of the most important things I learned when dealing with a problem was to always play devil's advocate and look at things from the other person's point of view. On an unconscious level, many do not realize how narcissistically they are looking at a problem, or why "The Boss" is approaching an issue a certain way. To be fair, it goes both ways; too many bosses are also guilty of not seeing the whole picture.
We are in the communications business and ironically, too often there is no communication. We get so narrowly focused on a specific problem without realizing it is one of many issues. It's kind of like that one teacher many of us once had who gave out way too much homework as if his or her class was the only one we were taking.
An up-and-coming personality asked me to listen to his show and this past Friday I tuned into his show. I listened for over an hour and never heard him. Over the weekend I sent him a text to call and he did. Then he proceeded to explain....
Jock: I have this other job which causes me to leave town on some weekends. The company is fine with it. They must have overlooked the tracks I left with voicetracking and ran an old show minus the vocal tracks. This has happened before; I am glad you told me about it.
Coach: I do not understand how this can happen.
Jock: I sent the PD an e-mail, I guess he did not see it. Sometimes I don't think he knows what is going on.
Coach: Is he a PD or OM?
Jock: He is the OM.
Coach: It sounds as if he has a lot going on and your situation is not the only thing he is dealing with.
Jock: He does a lot of things with sales. Sometimes I think he forgets about the music.
Coach: That is not what it is; he has a lot on his plate and you need to understand that and try and do everything possible to communicate with him. For example, the next time you are going out of town, send him an e-mail, a text, leave him a voicemail, and put a huge note on his door. Then if he still overlooks what you tell him, there is a different problem.
Jock: I never thought of it that way; he always seems too busy to deal with programming.
Coach: He is dealing with programming but probably only when he has a quiet moment to himself. I am a big believer in helping others remember things that need to be done.
I practice what I preach. At one station I once programmed, not only did I pass out memos and send e-mails, I would take a memo and plaster it in every area where I thought the jocks might see it; The lunch room, by the copier, eye level in the men's room above the urinals and #1 on my list, at eye level in both the men's and ladies' stalls. I took a lot ribbing, but everyone knew when I was trying to make a point.
Jock: That is funny; I get it.
Coach: Are you out of town next weekend?
Coach: Good, then I look forward to listening to your show.
Everyone Is Trying
Radio is no different than other jobs; you will come across bosses, co-workers and clients with a variety of leadership styles. Some will not fit with your style, but do not let that stop you from learning. The yeller type might become the best business friend you ever had, or the quiet soft-spoken boss, the biggest back stabber. The point is, don't look for yourself in others and listen to the message, not the occasional theatrics. Stay in control of any situation. Never rise up to the appearance of anger, or let your guard down for the "I'm your buddy approach." Be a realistic and make the best of things. To the best of your ability let others know what you know or do not understand.
Tell People What You Want
If you do not tell your boss what you want, he or she cannot read your mind. You have to put yourself in a position to achieve. Do not fall into the mindset of, "Others should recognize my awesomeness and automatically give me a promotion or job." Some in positions of power have the ability to recognize potential and act accordingly. Realistically, employers and managers are not psychics; they need to know your desires or thoughts. If you do not apply, are they supposed to guess? Want a chance to program or do afternoons? Tell the decision-maker.
In between radio gigs, I once sold cars and for whatever reason, the general manager of the dealership took a liking to me. He always stressed in meetings to not beat around the bush with buyers, verbally qualify them quickly with simple questions, get a commitment of any sort even if it's lunch, and above all, ask, "If a deal can be made today, will you buy a car?" The GM would say, "They will either say yes or no, and maybes are polite nos."
I put his words to the test and would daily ask for a hot car on the lot for my personal use. He always said yes to the annoyance of the other salespersons. Then one day at our sales meeting, he was asked why I always got to take home whatever car I wanted; he told them "Because he asks." It was a valuable lesson and I have passed it on to others ever since. Tell people what you want and give someone the chance to say yes or no. It really is about communicating!