AALL Spectrum

AALL Spectrum / November/December 2019 / Volume 24, No. 2

AALL Spectrum / Published by American Association of Law Libraries

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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 | AALL SPECTRUM 51 Image © iStock.com/Gustavofrazao/Peshkov let your supervisor know that the degree of scrutiny that you believe you've been placed under makes you feel like you are doing something wrong. In most cases, this approach will result in less micromanaging, as your supervisor sees how their approach is being received. The behaviorist approach. If you prefer a more behaviorist approach, consider gently showing your supervisor that it is safe to give you a longer leash. As I mentioned above, you are going to have to report to your supervisor—it's just part of the job. Instead of forcing your supervisor to be the one initiating those check-in sessions (and determin- ing the nature of those interactions), consider being proactive about updates. If you are the one initiating these con- versations, you can likely change the nature and tone into something you're more comfortable with. Check in at rea- sonable intervals, make sure deadlines are being met, and request feedback on completed assignments. Most supervisors just want to know that your work is being completed at a high level, and that they can speak intelligently about it if pressed. Show that you can check those boxes without additional prodding and there should be no need for micromanagement! Dolly: Maribel and Scott have laid out a number of great ways to work with any boss—not just a micromanager. For those who like to run free, it can be difficult to be "managed" at all. The key is to build a relationship with clear communication and find a way to work within your boss's needs and expecta- tions. Are they micromanaging because of a lack of trust, or because they need to have information in order to manage their own bosses? As Bob Dylan once noted, we all "have to serve somebody." I once had a boss who was an absolute pro at managing up, but con- versely was not great at managing their employees. When I understood that I was working with someone who needed to be able to show their bosses how well they were performing—even when they weren't—it became a lot easier to anticipate the needs of my boss, and to do the type of work they were Most importantly, try not to take things personally and don't overstep. Sometimes you will have a different point of view on something where your manager is the ultimate decision maker. When that happens, advocate for what you believe, but have a thick skin and check your ego at the door. Remember that your manager is human. Realize that in the same way you might have sensitivities about your relationship, they might have them as well, and be thoughtful of how you approach your relationship with them. Scott: It's worth keeping in mind that there is a perfectly healthy version of active, detail-oriented supervision that amounts to plain old "management." It's unreasonable to chafe at your super- visor checking in on the status of a project or wanting to discuss your meth- odology. Your performance ultimately reflects on your supervisor, and they are often responsible for reporting to their own superiors on projects being worked on by those they supervise. When man- agement turns into micromanagement, however, productivity and morale can start to slip. So, what can we do when a super- visor's management style crosses the threshold from collaborative and constructive to overbearing and coun- terproductive? This is where we get into the concept of managing up. This will involve communicating with your supervisor that you would benefit from a different style of management. How you communicate that message is up to you. Like so much that we talk about here, this all boils down to developing inter- personal and business intelligence to create scenarios where you feel best able to do your job in a happy and produc- tive manner. The direct, but gentle, approach. For those who are most comfortable with a direct approach, consider gently addressing the issue by asking whether there are any issues with your work product. Ask if your performance has been satisfactory, or if there are improvements that you can make in your methodology or end results. If your performance is indeed satisfactory, looking for. Until that point, however, I had been deeply frustrated, wishing for more engagement and leadership. Ultimately, that was not something this boss could give me—their priorities were elsewhere. From this example, I learned a lot about how to manage up effectively, but I learned even more about how to com- municate with my own direct reports. Had my boss been clear from the outset about their needs, we might not have struggled as hard as we did. Once I understood what they needed, we made a successful team until I was able to find a better role elsewhere. And this, I think, is the most vital management lesson of all: sometimes the best way to manage your boss is to not have them as a boss anymore. 3 DOLLY M. KNIGHT SENIOR LIBRARIAN Santa Barbara Public Library Santa Barbara, CA dollymknight@gmail.com © 2019 BY DOLLY M. KNIGHT MARIBEL NASH BUSINESS/LEGAL RESEARCH ANALYST DLA Piper (US) LLP San Francisco, CA maribel.nash@dlapiper.com © 2019 BY MARIBEL NASH Professionalism + Leadership at Every Level SCOTT VANDERLIN STUDENT SERVICES LIBRARIAN University of Chicago D'Angelo Law Library Chicago, IL svanderlin@uchicago.edu © 2019 BY SCOTT VANDERLIN

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