A long while back, my boss at the time said to me in a jestful manner after I asked to leave work a little early to keep an appointment, “Sure you can leave early, just come in at 6:30am and don’t take a lunch.”
I knew he was kidding, but that response still stung a bit. Thinking back, it still smarts.
I’ve been in the workforce a long while at this point — most of my working life as an “exempt employee” (no overtime pay). I don’t think twice about working past 5:00pm on any given day, or before 8:00am for that matter, when the job situation requires it. I want to do right by the company I work for.
In return, I want my employer to afford me respect and latitude to keep my work and personal life in harmony. An occasional “work hours” appointment seems reasonably part of that harmony. It’s a simple fact: we all need to take care of personal things during business from time to time.
The situation I experienced back then was instructive, because it put context and words around the way I wanted to be treated, and also how I treated those that worked for me.
It shed light on the management style I prefer (to work under, and to use in supervising others), and also illustrated the effect a supervisor has on his or her people.
The best work situation (I would suggest) is having friendly relations with your co-workers, including your supervisor, at a reasonable level. Such relationships build a sense of team, make the workday more productive, and more enjoyable.
Being a friendly work colleague, and a supervisor/manager at the same time, means balancing the two parts of the relationship, with important consideration to the respect and latitude our busy lives often require (granted, both must be earned and maintained, for sure).
Thinking more about that relationship, it’s similar to the role we have as parents, the same as teachers have with students to a degree, and also coaches have with their players (both depending on the age gap and maturity level). Respect and understanding are key to successful relationship, personal development, productivity and success too.
If you’re in a leadership position as a supervisor or manager, teacher or coach, and certainly as a parent, the mission is similar. Your job is to build a good working relationship with those under your guidance and responsibility, be clear about the expectations, develop mutual respect, help them when needed and otherwise, let your people run their own affairs. The results will speak for themselves.