Who Do You Work For?

As a development manager for a real-estate project I consult with, SB takes direction from three people: a profit-center manager, a project manager, and me. Most of the time, our advice and recommendations work together. Sometimes, however, we disagree. And when we do, it throws SB into a frenzy.

SB complains about getting mixed messages… being confused… being overworked. At the same time, he does a very good job on the work he understands. The people who work directly for him are happy with his leadership. And the results are almost always excellent.

SB’s mistake is in not understanding who he really works for: his customers. Every dollar the business earns comes from them. Their money funds his paychecks, the paychecks of his bosses, and the paychecks of the people who work under him.

By focusing on what is best for his customers, he can reduce the amount of confusion and conflict he experiences by having three supervisors.

Are you in a similar situation? Are you getting conflicting advice from the people you work for? You can usually determine the right thing to do by understanding what would be best for your customers. (Which decision will improve the service they get? Which one will make their buying experience easier, faster, and more rewarding?)

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]