How Can A Manager Know When They Are On Thin Ice?

You don’t want to be blindsided at the office
You don’t want to be blindsided at the office

Image Credit: Steve Betts

So how are things going for you at work? Are you getting along with everyone – especially your boss? Or are you starting to get left out of meetings that you used to get invited to? Are the people that you work with starting to become cool towards you? Has your boss stopped having conversations with you? Bad things may becoming your way and you may not even realize it…

How To Tell When You Are On Thin Ice

So how do managers get themselves in trouble at the office? One way that this can happen is if we don’t do a good job of using our manager skills to read the external factors that can influence our job. Our manager training teaches us that one of the most important of these is your management’s priorities and values. As manager, we need to understand that if our management starts to ignore us, then there must be a reason why they are doing that.

There are a lot of things that can lead to a miscommunication between you and your management. If your management stops giving you feedback and starts to leave you out of important meetings, then you should realize that you have a problem on your hands. This problem may have been caused by you having an over inflated sense of your capabilities and strengths. You might think that you are are able to do more things that you really can and that you can do them better than it turns out that you can. Secondly, you may be lacking an awareness of what your personal vulnerabilities are. This can lead to you being blindsided at work.

A lot of what can cause a manager problems at work is that they are unaware of how they are being perceived. If we think that we are good at doing something, like logical thinking, then we think that we are good at any job that requires logical reasoning and that may not be the case. Additionally, when we are poor performers in a given area, we are more than likely unable to recognize that we are poor performers in that area. Finally, most of us tend to resist efforts by our coworkers to let us know that we have a problem. We’ll say that their input is either irrelevant or inaccurate.

What To Do When You Are On Thin Ice

As managers we never want to find ourselves in a situation where we end up getting blindsided by events at the office that cause us to be on thin ice. Instead, we’d like to develop the ability to be aware of what is going on around us. One of the most critical things that we are going to have to make sure that we do is to early on find out how your management plans on evaluating your work performance. If you don’t know this, then you may spend time doing things that won’t make you look good.

In order to know how your management views your job performance, you need to take the time to ask them specific questions about your job performance. This information will be valuable, but what may be even more valuable will be feedback that you get from your colleagues who you are confident will tell you the truth. In every office situation, there will be some employees who do better than the other employees. These employees are often called “high achievers”. You need to carefully study what they are doing and then compare your performance to them. Ultimately what is going to keep you off of thin ice will be your become relationships. This is why it is critical that you make an effort to maintain good relationships with your management, the members of your team, and your peers.

One of the best times to get feedback on how your performance is being viewed will be during your performance reviews. What this means for you is that you need to watch your behavior during these reviews. You don’t want to appear to become defensive or bristle during the review. This will send the wrong message to your management. How you get along with the people that you work with is key to keeping yourself off of thin ice. Never assume that just because you are good, or even very good, at the core skills that make up your job that you can get away with neglecting maintaining relationships with everyone that you work with. You never want to find yourself becoming isolated – don’t allow your management to start to ignore you. It’s always good to have friends at work, but make sure that you don’t surround yourself with people who won’t give you honest feedback on how you are doing.

What All Of This Means For You

There you are – performing you manager job. All of sudden your management calls you into their office and they tell you that your services are no longer needed. What happened? Things like this don’t just happen. You must have been on thin ice for awhile and you just didn’t know it. What you need to do is to develop the skills that are going to allow you to detect when this is happening.

As managers we can find ourselves on thin ice if our management starts to ignore us. This can happen if we don’t make the effort to maintain good communication with them. You may think that you are better at doing things than you really are. You may also be unable to realize that you are not good at doing specific things. In order to avoid finding yourself on thin ice, you need to take steps to become more aware of your work environment. This means finding out how your boss plans on evaluating you. To do this you’ll need to ask them questions about your job performance. Getting feedback from colleagues who will be honest with you is invaluable. In the end it all comes down to relationships. Stay on good terms with everyone that you are working with.

Managers who don’t take the time and effort to remain aware of their work environment are the ones who can find themselves on thin ice. You never want to allow this to happen to you. Take steps to understand what your management wants you to do and make sure that you are always getting feedback on your performance. Get involved when there is team building going on. Staying aware will keep you on solid ground.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What steps should a manager take when they determine that they may be on thin ice?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time