The number of freelancers is increasing fast. Two of the primary reasons are the convenience it can provide and to get rid of their annoying bosses.
According to the survey done by Flexjobs.com, around 49% choose to become a freelancer to get rid of their bosses. For many workers, dealing with a single toxic boss is already stressful. Just imagine if you have two or more bosses with contradicting ideas, you will indeed not survive.
If you are one of those in this situation and don’t have plans to resign, here are some tips and solutions on how you can handle your bosses.
Problem #1 Whom to Report First?
One of your obligations as an employee is to report to your boss or immediate supervisor regularly. However, if you have more than one boss, the question is whom to report first? Sometimes conflict may arise if you failed to report to one of your bosses. The problem may worsen if you give your report to the wrong person.
So what will you do to resolve this issue?
- Identify the chain of command
- Request for a meeting with the bosses
- Consult the HR department
Identify the chain of command –
Many supervisors fail to do this, which results in conflicts and confusion. If you have multiple bosses to report to, you must know whom to report first.
Every company follows a chain of command. You may have several bosses, but there is one who will have the final say on work-related matters. Also, some reports are forwarded only to a particular boss of yours, so you need to figure out whom to talk to.
Once you know whom to report to, you will have an idea of which work to prioritize. Through this, you will have a smooth workflow.
Learn how the office management team is designed. If you are new in the department or the office and the HR failed to inform you about this, you can ask around. Even if you hold a senior position, there are things that you may not know. So, do not hesitate to ask questions.
It is a must that you please all the bosses. If one of them is unhappy with your work, you can still face serious problems, and you don’t want it to happen. Make sure you stick with the chain of command. Once it is broken, the entire company will suffer.
Request for a meeting with the bosses –
Sometimes reporting to your boss one by one is not enough. To ensure that all your bosses are satisfied with your work, you can request a meeting with all of them present. Through this, you can resolve any issue involving the project easily and effectively. This will also ensure that all of them are on the same page.
When requesting a meeting, you have to keep in mind the following:
- You need to be specific on what the meeting is all about, and it should pass through the proper channels.
- Take note of everything that you need to discuss with your bosses. Through this, you can inform them how much time you will need from them.
- Tell your bosses in advance since they usually have a busy schedule. One of your bosses may not be available on the said date, so you need to fit everybody’s schedule.
- Ask which task should go first and to whom you will report first. This reduces the conflicts that might occur.
- Do not forget to ask a question at the meeting, if anything.
Consult the HR department –
The best source of information in any company is the HR department. You can ask them about the company’s matrix structure, so you will know whom to report first and who will have the final say about the project. Any problems involving the employees, managers, and bosses can course through the HR department.
It is the role of the human resources to maintain effective communication between the employees and the bosses. The HR department does the orientation of the employees. They are not just into hiring employees. They also provide administrative support to higher positions. If one of your bosses is bugging you around and unsure if you need to report to him, HR can provide the answer you need.
Problem #2 Lack of Communication
A misunderstanding may arise between you and your bosses if there is a lack of communication. One of the essential elements in the success of any business is communication. Communicating with top-level management is a big challenge when it comes to internal communication.
Business communication tools may help you save energy, time, and money. However, it is necessary to know how to communicate effectively with your boss. Your bosses are the key to your success in the company. They can also influence you a lot on the way you perceive your work.
You spend most of your time in the office. So learning the best way to communicate with your boss is a must if you plan to stay in the company longer. Each of your bosses has some expectations, and it is up to you to figure them out.
Following are the solutions to fix this –
- Determine what communication style works with your boss
- Communicate on a personal level
- Discuss to your bosses any issues or misunderstandings
Determine what communication style works –
Your bosses may differ in their preferred method of communication. To effectively communicate with them, you have to know their preferences when it comes to communication.
Some are comfortable over the phone, while others are through email. Knowing what your boss prefers can help you communicate better with them.
Instead of insisting on using email, there are instances where talking on the phone would work best for them. If you communicate with them using their preferred means, they will surely appreciate it.
Some bosses may prefer face-to-face meetings. These bosses are the ones that want to micromanage your work and keep you updated from start to finish. Other bosses would leave it all to you, and they simply want to have a copy of your progress report. It is a must that you figure out those who prefer to communicate and delegate the work to your subordinates smoothly.
It is also best to be open with them. If you encounter any problems, report to them right away. There is no reason for you to hide any trouble that might occur. You can ask your boss for help and suggestion on how to deal with the problem. Do not worsen the situation by keeping it to yourself.
Communicate on a personal level –
It’s not necessary to be friends with your boss, but it is better to have a more personal conversation if you can. You can ask them about their weekend or how they are handling any specific situation.
If you talk to them personally, they are most likely to respond right away and spend some time discussing things with you. Your boss will appreciate your concern for them. Although this might depend on the kind of boss you have, not every boss is keen on sharing stuff so calibrate accordingly.
Ensure that you will still show respect even if you are talking to them on a personal level. You have to set the limits and not to go overboard. Some tend to forget where they should stand and treat their bosses like regular employees, mainly if they are among the company’s pioneers. We advise you to talk on a personal level to make you feel comfortable so that you can discuss things in detail.
Discuss about any issues or misunderstandings –
Most of the time, the main reason for confusion and misunderstandings is lack of communication. Your bosses may have different views about your work. Some are satisfied, while others are not. However, if you find ways to talk to them in a preferred manner that you all agreed with, you can settle any issues or misunderstandings easily.
Around 90% of conflicts are due to miscommunications. Some of the causes of poor communication between you and your bosses are unclear responsibilities, time pressures, and different communication styles. Many employees are having a hard time focusing on communication styles, resulting in unclear expectations.
You must talk with your bosses right away about any issues or misunderstandings. Miscommunication can affect the company’s productivity, may have an emotional impact on employees, add stress and frustration, and reduce employee morale.
Problem #3 Overlapping Workload
Some think that employees on the senior level tend to have less work as they tend to delegate their assignments to their subordinates. This is not true. Based on the study conducted by gallup.com, around 50% of the managers are overloaded with tasks. And because of this, their work-life balance and physical health are affected.
If you check the manager’s job description, you will see that they are loaded with tasks. They also need to lead and develop their team. What makes their work even more toxic is having multiple bosses. The most evident problem associated with the overloading of tasks is lack of time. As a result, it also becomes a problem for the team.
Finally to this problem, the solution could be as per below.
Ask your bosses about their expectations –
If you have a clear idea of your boss’s expectations, it will be easier for you to focus on the essential things. Since you hold one of the company’s top positions, most of your bosses will leave it up to you. Because of this, you are left guessing as to what they expect from you.
If you have two or more bosses, they tend to pull you in different directions, which eats up your time. In turn, this leaves you with lesser time to work on your tasks. In the same study that gallup.com has conducted, around 42% of the managers believe that they have several competing priorities.
The fact that you will be held liable for the team performance and it is a must that you also have the time for them. Knowing your boss’s expectations can help you sort things out. You need to talk with them and make it clear to them to know what to prioritize. This will help you achieve your goals and live up to your boss’s expectations.
So yeah, that brings us to the conclusion.
Working in a company with multiple bosses does not have to be stressful. It is usual for you to encounter some problems, but there are solutions to every problem. Being on the senior level does not mean that you are in a good position. You will still encounter hardships and difficulties while working.
The company may benefit from having multiple bosses. Some managers may not have an easy journey with their bosses, but it will surely help them in honing their skills. It is a matter of good communication, time management, and giving consideration.
You don’t have to get intimidated by your bosses. They may have different ideas and views that can get you in a tight situation. But once you learn to deal with them, you will have a smooth working relationship. If you plan to have your own company, working with multiple bosses can be your training ground. You can learn a lot from them.
Let me know your thoughts in comments below.
Thanks for reading.