"It is not only the subject matter skills, but your behavioural skills also play a significant role."
"Be honest in your dealings, accept mistakes, learn from it, interact with as many people as possible"
"Changing job is very easy,but making this job better is always a challenge."
In a recent chat with readers, Utkarsh Rai, author of Faster, Smarter, Higher, addressed queries on how employees can deal with their bosses.
Also See: How to manage your manager
For those who missed the chat on May 12, 2016, here's the transcript!
GobindGopal: Any tips for being a good boss?
Utkarsh Rai: In nutshell "walk the talk", be honest in your dealings, and provide truthful answer to your actions, even if people do not agree. There are many more in the book Faster Smarter Higher appreciate you read, learn and apply. Good question though
Chanchal Wankhade: What one can do if your boss comes late??
Utkarsh Rai: Do you really want your boss to come early? Actual problem is when you want to go home at right time and your boss comes late and stay late and want you to stay late.
Pankaj K: Baap of all questions: How do you maintain a work-life balance?
Utkarsh Rai: very easy answer as I follow it myself, but difficult for many: Time mgmt. to make you skill to prioritize work and discard less important unnecessary distractions. Always ask this question or important, urgent or ok type. And focus only on those. Also be transparent and honest and tell what you can do and what you cannot do with a reason then others will also respect your time.
Pankaj K: Good Afternoon Utkarsh Sir! I'd like to know what was it to work in India's IT sector in the early 90s??
Utkarsh Rai: The landscape has changed a lot. At that time salaries were less, only some projects were very challenging, India was still not positioned as IT powerhouse. However even at that time also we have very good set of IT professionals.
SureshGali: How to judge the right potential in the subordinates to elevate them to next level ladder so that dependency will reduce on one to move ahead
Utkarsh Rai: define what is required for the next level and assess your team members against that, shortlist a few and discuss with your managers. also be aware that those who don't get opportunity might quit so have a contingency plan, but because of that don't stop promotion of other person. Read chapter "managing your team" liked by many mgmt. folks across career levels.
Pankaj K: How harmful/useful is job hopping?
Utkarsh Rai: if you can justify the job changes with honesty, there is no harm. If you are learning with every change and realizing the mistakes with some job changes there is no harm. only caveat You need to see what frequency of job changes are acceptable so that your resume should not be rejected in screening stage is your guess.
MSK SHELTERS: how to handle pressure of working all days in week, only few days off in year.
Utkarsh Rai: cant give specific answer. But part of the problem also lies with you. Though it is true sometime companies goes in the pacth where for months you need to work hard and long, but then if you are skillful in relationship mgmt., time mgmt. and skillful in your work you will never be overworked for many months. Trust me this is very true.
Venugopal: How to handle a Politics Manager, speaks something in front, does something in the background...'!
Utkarsh Rai: You are not the first and not the last person. that is why it is important that you know how to work with other stakeholders rather than only your manager. If you deal only with your manager then chances could be high if the manager is like this. Second part that you need to make yourself skillful, and better networked as written in my book. manager slowly will value you
Pankaj K: If making your career is an 'art' and not some 'science', are we not just hitting arrows in the air under the pretext of career guidance?? Since what works for one might not work for the other. P.S: The question doesn't intend offense and I very much appreciate your answers and efforts with your objective.
Utkarsh Rai: yes it is an art and not a science as most folks want an algorithm, if I do this I can get this, else I will get this. It is not like that. It is like a journey with many traffic lights ,lanes, speeding cars,overtaking cars, slow vehicles. that is why my book will help you in navigating and learn the art.
Dinkar Dosanjh: How to get along with colleagues at work place...when a certain assignment is given to a certain team?
Utkarsh Rai: Across team colleagues, is this question. A golden opportunity to know new team members, to know new challenges and ensure that both of your work is aligned to make the project successful rather than finger pointing whose mistake is and who delayed the project. if latter then talk to that person and understand his challenges and come to a common solution rather than blaming each other
Sridhar Rangarajan: Tips on - How do Senior Managers handle a bad temperament CEO ( 60+) ?
Utkarsh Rai: By this stage you are seasoned, more patient and somewhat thick skinned. If you know the things which trigger angry reaction then avoid it, (a simple tip to be prepared with the answer in anticipation) and have data on your finger tips. Second tip, if such things happen, don't respond for sometime and do not appear perturbed, most of the time after some time the person will be more receptive
Pankaj K: What are some not-to-do things at your workplace? In a bigger picture!
Utkarsh Rai: here are the dos: Be honest in your dealings, accept mistakes, learn from it, interact with as many people as possible, hungry to learn. Most important try to build your own brand in your company in years the way you want to . There is a full chapter 'managing self' in the book talks about it. It also covers don't part too.
Mahesh V: Is the boss always right?
Utkarsh Rai: certainly not always, but then how to make him/her aware is an art not science. You can read my book chapter managing your manager to get more insights
Nurul Islam: I am working under a sole proprietor dealer . I am trying hard to get better job in pvt. ltd companies but not getting any job. Please suggest.
Utkarsh Rai: You try t understand what are they looking ? subject skills and behavior skills,and focus on improving that. The style of working of different sectors are different so spend time and energy in picking up some of those things
Pankaj K: Is IT the only creamy/prospering layer of India's employment sector?
Utkarsh Rai: Not really. Every sector the high performers are getting creamy job and good compensation. Whatever you choose be in the top 20% in that area and you will be not unduly worried.
Pankaj K: What would be the future trends in India's IT industry? Are there some specific areas of expertise which could help career aspirants who are just foraying into IT?
Utkarsh Rai: There are many reports available on the web for you to get information and also talk with some of the seniors and mentors.
Dinkar Dosanjh: Hello Sir, how to handle target pressure?
Utkarsh Rai: internal and external. Internal by having better time mgmt. to achieve more, exercise daily to remain fit, and have some 30 mins hobby at least to focus on something other than work.. external by understanding the job, refining the skills and development better relationships at work with various stakeholders. if you are doing all these things and feel happy even you do not miss target, it is OK.
anil sood: I am working as Manager post since 2009 . however change three companies since 2010 but still not able to climb the ladder like GM /AVP post . spending almost 7-8 at same designation in three companies now really losing confidence to reach the top management level. what to do to crack top management / sr. management post?
Utkarsh Rai: first don't grow by label. designation matter but not to a level that it will cause frustration. As you grow the climb become difficult and will take more time in position so be patient. However you cannot sit ideally and feeling when to be promoted, instead you should focus on what skills your company require now and in future and learn, you can also spend some of your own money and attend class
sameer sethi: HI i am working in a BPO for the past 4 years, my salary is quite good...but the only issue is shift timings...is bpo a good career option?
Utkarsh Rai: This is for you to decide. If you like the job and it has learning opportunities which are in line of your career plan, then any job is good.
anil: Hi i have been working in an MNC for the past 3 years, but there is no increement....there are absolutely no signs of promotion, should i go for another job?
Utkarsh Rai: changing job is very easy,but making this job better is always a challenge. If you leave a job,no guarantee that you will not face same thing in the new job. Talk to your manager what he or she is expecting from your role ? don't ask more money or promotion, but ask about skills, trainings and opportunities and help to do better
Varsha Singhe: How to deal with a bad manager? pls share some tips
Utkarsh Rai: Do not assume that the manager is bad in the first place, but understand what you do not like in the manager. Are others also do not like the same thing in your manager, then he is not just "bad" for you. If he is the same of everyone, then you need to read the section "Understanding your manager" to deal with that type. If he/she is behaving different only with you, then understand the trigger
Utkarsh Rai: Please refer to my early comment against similar question
dhana sekar: i am working in a college as a Training and Placement officer. Most of the students are not serious about their job while studying?how to change their attitude?
Utkarsh Rai: First 4-5 years of the career is where the fundamentals which are learnt in the college will be applied, so it is better that they should get the crux of the subject.
Aprosh Aarsiwala: I do not get along with some of my colleagues. What should i do?
Utkarsh Rai: Colleague relationship is always very challenging. You are not the only one. First try to find a common ground between two of you, so that you can work together. Talk it out and rather than responding back to each of the colleague concern, listen first. It could be that the colleague is also feeling the same way with you.most of the time it is mutual and someone has to break the ice.
Utkarsh Rai: please refer to my earlier comment to the similar question
Amit: I am hard working with honest and transparency but my boss does not like me. no promotion and good increment comparative other person last five year. what I do ?
Utkarsh Rai: It is simple fact, that the value perceived by your manager in your offerings may not be the way you want to be. Bettter go to his/her office in a listening mode and ask specifically what need to be improved and also ask his help in assigning a mentor or anyone who can help you in this journey. You can also keep a track of your progress and update his periodically, this eagerness to change helps
Shinny Patnaik: Dear Utkarsh, how can i grow in my career. Presently i am in investment banking but no growth, guide on business analytics and prospect. Also guide how to tackle an indirectly spoken boss and grow inside the organization. Regards, Shinny
Utkarsh Rai: A very wide question: The whole book is about growing the career. two parts your skill and your own visibility. Any growth has to be english letter T, T has vertical line which is your depth in the subject and horizontal line which is width and reaching out to people. Both need to grow if you want to grow not at the same speed but yes both to grow.
Ankush: Hi,My boss purposefully does not recognizes my knowledge and provides opportunity to my junior since my junior is his favourite. He always speaks negative for my work despite completing all on time. Client is also happy with my work except my boss. My boss says if client is happy go and get you appraisal from client. Tell me how to deal.
Utkarsh Rai: This is a common complaint. Most of the time blame goes to manager, which could be correct too, but then you cant change the manager and even if you change it no guarantee that new manager will be different. So best to reflect one selves and read the section "How can I become my manager's man Friday " in my book
Mathew Thomas: How can I handle a powerful boss with vested interests and corrupt in the organisation
Utkarsh Rai: There is a section on ethics in the book. Please do not compromise on it, even if some people are doing it. As far as powerful boss is concerned, section "understanding your boss" covers many types of boss and how to deal with them. cant cover in this chat session. However one tip is that everyone should see "what value or skill are you bringing on the table which will help your team & manager
shaukat gavandi: If boss is always underestimate colleagues what to do?
Utkarsh Rai: Ask a direct question "what I need to learn and demonstrate in the next 3 months or 6 months of in the year, which can help the team and the company." you can also ask your manager to assign a mentor or a partner through whom you can learn,brainstorm. If you ask right question to the manager, chances of getting right answer and a direction to improve is high
Sudarsan Mekala: Handling boss differs from handling boss's boss, with whom one interacts very less. Any better ways to handle a remote manager?
Utkarsh Rai: yes, handling manager and handling manager's boss is different. Most important to work with a remote manager is proactive communication (preferably verbal) with your manager. Where you should be able to relay the full situation easily . Over communication is acceptable
Hazal: How can I be more productive at work?
Utkarsh Rai: here are a few of the tips: Learn more about the work assigned, don't be fearful of doing mistake but experiment new ideas and if some success make presentation within your team. Discuss new ideas or new ways of doing the things in the team, as most of the time such discussions are very nourishing and improve the skills and enthusiasm. use tools to automate mundane work
dinesh: How to get a better pay raise? Please share some tips
Utkarsh Rai: Your skill, its value, its criticality is very important. It is not only the subject matter skills, but also your behavioral skills also play a significant role. If you are not happy,then ask your manager what shall I learn and demonstrate to get a better responsibility which will give a better pay.
Nirupama Trivedi: How many years should one wait before changing their first job?
Utkarsh Rai: there is no fixed timeframe,please do it within a year to some whom I knew have stayed more than 10 years in their first job. Most important is to learn and enjoy.Learn the new skills or domain or to refine the existing ones and enjoy the process of learning and contributing.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
Advice from author Utkarsh Rai does not reflect the opinions of Rediff.com and should not be considered in the capacity of professional counselling.
Also See: How to manage your manager