A short retrospective on good, bad and possible actions.
It is always a constant challenge to keep your manager updated. It is “even more” when you have two. How about a scenario where you have three managers (Yes, not stakeholders but managers!) to keep updated. If you’re interested to know about that, read the firsthand experience.
So, I have manager X in my organization, however, I work at a customer location. So, I report to a manager at my organization, but at the customer site, I need to report towards customer manager, say Y, and report to another manager, i.e., Z, for work-related via a dotted line.
It’s funny that whenever I have to plan for a leave plan, I need to send leave plan email to all my manager X, Y and Z to inform about my leave plan.
What can go bad?
Multiple managers have a different thought process and different personalities. They have different work assignments and different deadline pertaining to their needs.
Focus is needed to ensure that you don’t drag yourself in the conflict between them. When in doubt, allow them to thrash it out among themselves and in most cases, they will be open to having a discussion between themselves to sort it out. You initiate it, but don’t be part of that, but ensure you are made aware of the conclusion.
When you have multiple managers, in every organization there will be one manager who will be your reporting manager in the organization structure I would say he has the final authority to decide for you, for your reporting organization as he will be ultimately responsible for you.
What can you do to make it better?
Just follow the scrum principle. Transparency is the name of the game. One way to manage this is to keep all three informed on what you are doing and who has given you the assignment with a deadline, so that way all three will be updated.
In some cases, you need to be extra official (in this case, it’ll help) and update your work activities to all three of them either together or separately every week.
At the time of conflict, evaluate the priority and avoid mixing different works. Don’t try to take any side, try to come up with a solution which suits all three managers. Review your workload on a weekly basis.
If you inspect the workload and performance, then you need to act. There is no point of measure unless you act on it. Read this as adopt.
One manager may leave it with you to handle all work (especially if he is at same location as yours), while another one would need more regular updates at a remote location. You need to depend on your emotional intelligence and interpersonal skill. You need to adjust your way of working, communication style, and overall your touchpoints with your respective managers. It’s tough at the beginning to start with, but it eventually settles down with time.
A positive spin?
I consider this situation as a positive force. Consider like others will have one supporter to vote for their work, but in your case, it’ll be three-fold positive.
Think you have the unique opportunity to serve here, as mostly your employer needs you and your skill set to serve multiple people. You need to fall back to one of the most important skill of any industry, i.e., communication.
So, rather than getting demotivated at working for multiple managers, get up and shout loud with “Let’s make a dent at the universe”!