"Making your boss' job easier is the best thing you can do for her.” -Mark Cuban
Today was “National Boss Day”. It made me think back to when I had thousands of people around the world within my area of responsibility. My job was hard. I had multiple internal stakeholders, external customers, and shareholders I was working hard to meet their requirements. During those times, I had at least ten direct reports. I judged them based on how they helped me do my job. In other words, how they made my job easier. Specifically, the people that gave me a heads-up when problems and political trouble were brewing and, more importantly, the people that kept it from brewing. They did by doing their job, forming relationships at their level and higher, and keeping their fingers on the pulse on how things were going. Direct reports who did those things got rewarded; ones that didn’t went on to pursue other opportunities.
Let me also point this out: You don’t have to like your boss to make their life easier. As long as they are not asking you to do anything illegal or that goes against the organization’s code of conduct, you need to support them. People know who the bad bosses are and will respect you for getting your job done despite job boss. They will eventually get you into their organization because they know you will support them. I know this first-hand because I have worked for some people who I didn’t like and got big promotions after I worked for them.
In closing, I sometimes thought my approach to judging my direct reports was too narrow until I read Mark Cuban’s quote about how he judged his people. Note: I have never met him before, so I don’t know what type of person he really is. However, I do know who I am and the number of people who worked for me who have gone on to be in the C-suite of billion dollar organizations. Make the people who you work shine and make their jobs easier —as long as they are ethical—and you will also rise up the career ladder.