What do you do when the boss is away?

A recent article from CNN Living tweeted by jeffespo really hit home for me. Not so much the article, but the comments about inspiration from the top down.

I’ve worked in a fair number of places and my favorites, obviously, have been the over-communication, fairly lax environments where everyone, boss included, is a team player. They aren’t afraid to let loose and trust you to not only get your job done, but get it done without hovering over your shoulder.

I do not enjoy an environment where the attitude is, “I trusted you enough to hire you, but the trust ends there.” In these environments everything is micromanaged. Arrivals and departures are monitored more closely than air traffic control monitors airplanes. Everything is spied on and tattled on. You can’t trust anyone, let alone be trusted to do your actual job.

Unfortunately, I do not hold the secret for telling exactly what a culture is going to be like before starting a position. I tend to get a pretty good idea during the interview and try to ask a few people their opinions and sort out the corporate kool-aid speak from reality, but even if you begin working at a laid-back, lax place all that can change very quickly.


While we are discussing communication, I want to reiterate how important it is to TELL people what is going on. Don’t let them hear it through the grapevine or office gossip, let them hear it from you.

In the middle school lunchroom that is the office, it is more important than ever to make sure people know what is going on. I would rather work for/with an over-communicator rather than an under-communicator. I would rather be told things three times than not told at all.

I’m not just talking about big things like a change in staff, but also the little things such as there’s a new process for X. After you’ve told them make sure, if applicable, you’ve also said WHY the process changed. When people know the reasoning they are more likely to be supportive and receptive to the changes.

Leaving people out of the loop just looks bad. It makes people think you are hiding something or don’t trust them.

Do you agree?