When Eric Clapton did a cover of the song “Serve Somebody”, it was clear he was talking spiritually. It’s one of my favorite songs and I fold into the music and the words like Gumby (note to those reading this who are too young to remember Gumby, Eddie Murphy skits where he is pretending to
be Gumby or the cartoon show based on the character – I’m sorry).
…he has nothing to do with this post..
In the context of this commentary, when I reference ‘serving somebody’, I’m talking about work. After all, we all report to someone – a boss, a management board, committee, owners, clients, etc. I have written about my perspective on management’s responsibilities; I have not been as prolific about the corollary – the responsibility of direct reports.
There is an interesting article in “Inc” magazine titled “8 Things Great Bosses Demand From Their Employees” By Geoffrey James. In brief, James maintains that the following represent the most important expectations an employer has of his/her direct reports:
“1. Be true to your word
2. No surprises, ever
3. Be prepared on the details
4. Take your job seriously
5. Have your boss’ back
6. Provide solutions, not complaints
7. Communicate in plain language
8. Know your real job”
Recognizing that direct reports could say the same things about their bosses, my view is that the list for them is longer and a bit different. That said, if both groups could successfully meet these eight expectations, I think most organizations would be way ahead of the game. Given that everyone answers to someone – what do you think of this list? Does it seem reasonable? Doable? Do you take these expectations on, or are you waiting for your boss to do so (in which case, I would strongly recommend that you go ahead and do the right thing – it will serve you better in the long run). What’s missing? Regardless of where you are within your business community, I’d love to hear from you. If we can make our work environment better, why not try to do so!