Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dealing with two bosses

While most people find it difficult to handle one boss, there are occasions when executives are required to report to two bosses simultaneously ! For instance, due to the economic slowdown, most companies are in the retrenchment mode. As a result, multi-tasking becomes important to justify yourself as a valuable resource . Such situations often give rise to dual reporting.

As Sumaiya Khan, HR professional from a leading advertising agency, says, “Everyone seems to be talk ing about multi-projects , multi-roles and multi-managers . With globalisation, and now recession, employees may have to report to more than one manager. But this depends on the cross-departmental nature of the job.”
According to Shalaka Gandekar , Chief of Human Capital , Future Generali India Life Insurance, “Dual reporting would be based on the function or business and the geographical location. When a company functions across locations, dual reporting is required to pool in knowledge and functional inputs.”
Dealing with two bosses at the same time can be a tricky task; it requires wit and clear thoughts. Here are some tips to help you take both the bulls by the horns:

Handling your routine itself can become a challenge. Shaina Paul, who works in a bank and handles operations for two locations, shares her experience:
“Initially I used to get confused with the reresponsibilities assigned by the location heads. Later, I requested them to send me the tasks in writing. This helped me a lot as I can refer to their request as per my convenience and work on it.”

“Its important to understand the working style of each manager,” feels Khan. For instance , if you need a day off, it’s important to communicate it in a way that the manager wishes to be informed .
“While one may want a written note or at least an e-mail for, the other may be flexible to accept verbal requests,” explains Khan. To avoid goof ups, it’s advisable to document everything.

It’s important to keep your bosses informed about the tasks you handle. Rajesh Iyer, who works in an animation company, says, “I have two bosses as I’m usually working on two projects. I ensure that I have a chart of activities with their deadlines listed on them. This keeps them posted about my schedule and bandwith.”
According to Khan, priority conflicts should always be communicated immediately: “Explain your situation and request the bosses to work out a plan of action so that you’re not in a soup.”

Managing two bosses who don’t get along is a task. However, playing the role of a mediator can help.
“My bosses don’t get along well; however, I need their assistance . So whenever there is a clash of priorities, I call for a meeting, and present the problem so that they can arrive at a mutual decision,” says Devi Singh, who works in a multinational.

It’s important not to be negative about one boss or complain about him/her to the other.
On the contrary, if you talk well about your bosses, you may unknowingly score some brownie points!

Kavita Krishnamurthy, Mumbai Mirror

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