While having a coffee with a former manager, she mentioned: “I loved how you suggested new workshops and brought new ideas, sometimes even challenging my thinking. It helped me find my leadership style!”
Don’t underestimate your power, even as an employee!
While a manager might have his own way of managing the department, he might not be able to see a situation from all the perspectives. And certainly not from the employee’s point of view, who is directly involved with his specific tasks.
The manager is focused on the bigger picture: the whole department’s goal as part of company’s objective. So he might miss some important information that only the employees can provide.
Both managers and employees are part of the “puzzle” that makes the whole company move forward. So getting accurate information and new ideas from employees are beneficial.
If you happen to have a manager who is open to employees’ feedback, suggestions, and ideas … that’s great!
But don’t give up if you have a manager with the attitude “My way or the highway!” These managers still need your input, although they might not recognize. Some, even if they recognize, they might still go ahead with their initial thoughts.
It is part of the employee’s role to speak up, to bring to the manager’s attention perspectives he might miss. A skillful way to do this is to find the right time. Do not wait until the last moment, when a deadline is very close (or even passed) and everyone is stressed. Finding the right moment to voice your ideas/ suggestions is important if you want the manager to listen. While your intuition could help you find the right moment, you need to find the courage to speak up.
What’s the most important, even with a manager who is open: to share your idea, then let it go. I’m talking about ideas related to improving operations or productivity, for example, how to improve or expand the services …
Once the idea or suggestion is shared, let the manager decide if it will be implemented. Don’t hang on to the fact that your idea is great, and has to be implemented. Whether the manager decides to take it into consideration or not, it’s out of your control. It’s the manager’s responsibility to ponder such ideas/suggestions from his point of view, which takes into consideration additional factors that might not be obvious from the employee’s perspective. Even if the idea is not taken into consideration, at least you voiced your opinion and put a “seed” that might grow in time.
You might be around or not by then, but doesn’t feel better to share an idea because it could bring progress… instead of holding it back? Or, even worse, to be resentful toward your manager because the idea was not implemented? The later could poison the work environment, and I bet it’ll affect your mood and performance as well! Not the best way to spend your time at work, right?
Are you afraid that your manager will implement your idea without giving you credit? Even if that’s happening, isn’t it better to focus on the fact that you were able to contribute in some way instead of feeling bitter that someone stole your idea? You can also share it with colleagues before it gets implemented. At least they will know the truth, and you’ll know what kind of manager you deal with. Then you can decide where you’d like to put your focus next: continue to contribute with ideas (because you get more, and at least you feel good that something is improving), focus on a plan B (preparing your next career step while you’re still working there), do your best in the current position so coworkers notice your excellent work and can give you good referrals when you decide to move on …
What’s your perspective about sharing your ideas and suggestions with your manager?
Professional Coach, Bestselling Author