leadership, management, motivation, training, work life

Second – We All Work For Somebody

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).

This is Gumby..


…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!

Gumby at the DIA
Gumby at the DIA (Photo credit: Jordawesome)

9 thoughts on “Second – We All Work For Somebody”

  1. Since I have civility on the brain today, I will add that to the list. I expect to be treated respectfully and professionally. I further expect that my boss or my employees will call me out if I am not treating them in the same manner.

    1. “I Second That Emotion” – at this point, you know I bring up these songs because they come to mind, but also because I know it makes you smile…:-)

  2. I’d like to add “Maintain a sense of humor.” While it’s important to take one’s job and attendant responsibilities seriously, it’s also good to know when to just lean back and laugh. Thanks for keepin’ the consciousness high, Mimi!!

  3. Ah! I see in this former post that you HAVE looked at the other side (see my comment 18 Aug). Great take on this angle. Perhaps there could be added something along the lines of getting on with other employees (which I believe is the aspect that often drags down workplaces; too often the people think it is something to do with management). Also, one question, what does ‘ have your boss’ back’ mean? Great post …..

    1. Thanks – “having your boss’ back” – being there to support her objectives, not speaking poorly of him in front of others, in short we are there to make our boss’ look good. That doesn’t mean being a kiss up – rather doing one’s job as best as one can without pretense. And in reality, if that boss is awful, there’s the confidence that your hands are clean – your efforts exceeded expectations.

  4. I hate to respond with a question – but I’m going to…If they’re not, why aren’t they? Where’s the disconnect between what you communicate, model, reflect and their perceptions of their jobs? I don’t want to be too presumptuous here because I don’t know your company or staff or your management style. With that caveat it sounds like there’s some old clutter that needs to be tossed and a new foundation of trust, open communication, and job expectations outlined. I guess my view is that if you establish a baseline, you can then determine how well (or not) your team is really acting as one and who is and isn’t meeting expectations..

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