“When I was 9 months pregnant with you, they did not let me leave till 1 pm when I asked for a half-day even though I had to visit the doctor. They said that a half-day started at 1 pm, so that’s when I could leave,” said my mother.
As ridiculous as that sounded to me, my mother and aunt validated each other’s feelings in silence with an exchange of glances.
Being a millennial is tricky business. With boomer parents, there’s a whole lot of convincing that millennials need to do when explaining the workings of the current workforce to them.
Boomers are aware of their fiscal rights – where to get their forms signed, how to file their taxes, and how their pensions will pan out. But they’ll hesitate before demanding time off, which is well within their rights.
In their world, their bosses are big personalities – they cannot be touched, much less questioned. They “come in and go at their own time” and spend most of their time taking chai breaks.
Millennials, on the other hand, have a slightly different experience – our version of a ‘bad’ boss is different, we’re aware of our leave policies, and most of us intentionally plan on taking them. But our culture hasn’t transformed drastically; it has merely adjusted to the time we’re in. Many of us were raised with the ‘the boss is always right’ mentality, and we’re often taught not to question them. When does this cycle end?
Why We Need To Hold Our Bosses Accountable
Our professional and personal lives are more intertwined as compared to our parents’.
When I say this, I don’t mean or condone not having a work-life balance; the nature of our work is such that our personal and professional lives are growing less separate from each other. The Venn diagram of our lives would show massively overlapping circles.
With us spending more and more of our time and resources at work, it’s imperative that our bosses reciprocate our hard work with accountability.
It is important, now more than ever, to demand from our managers what is rightfully ours, be it more money, more time off, or more recognition.
5 Simple Ways To Hold Your Boss Accountable At Work
You don’t have to stand outside your boss’s cabin holding a placard to demand what’s yours (do that if you really must, though, there’s no judgement). It’s a good habit to set a precedent and tone with your team and your manager right at the start of your job. Letting them know you’re proactive about your role and your place in the organisation is the mark of a good employee.
Wondering where to start at your current job? Here are a few simple ways to inculcate the habit and hold your manager accountable at work.
1. Be Upfront About What You Need
Your company is here to provide you with the resources you need to do your job well.
Whether it’s about your tasks, a deadline extension, an extra hand to complete your work, or a mental health day, be clear and confident about what you need to get the job done. A good boss will try and find a solution that works for you. Of course, have a concrete idea about what you need and how it will help you achieve your goal.
2. Don’t Hesitate To Ask Questions
What comes with ‘the boss is always right’ mentality is the fear of asking questions. We’re afraid of overstepping and offending them, and this needs to change!
Ask any relevant questions or counter-questions when a responsibility comes to you.
You aren’t performing tasks mindlessly just to satisfy the team or company’s goals – you’re also doing it for your own professional development.
You deserve to have clarity on your tasks and their impact on the company’s goals. This is a great way to come across as thorough and proactive in the workplace.
3. Prepare For Difficult Conversations
Office life isn’t always hunky-dory; you will have bad days. Not all of us are blessed with a great work culture or a perfect boss, so disappointments are expected. But if you’re having bad days regularly and with no respite, you must make it a point to speak to your boss about it. Don’t burn yourself out because that’s expected of you – your workplace is supposed to accommodate you!
Whether it’s a difficult coworker, long work hours, or ill-treatment, be honest about things that are hampering your performance at work.
But make sure that you are completely prepared with things that support your argument. You can expect resistance and counter-arguments in return, but make sure you remain determined till you get all the answers you need.
4. Put It All On Record
Not all bosses are great, but some bosses are particularly terrible. They may not support or back their team, may refuse to give them credit, or throw them under the bus in case of a blunder.
A good habit to inculcate is to put it all on record so you can go back to it when things get rough. This will ensure that a bad boss doesn’t place the blame on anyone without reason.
Volunteer to take down notes in a meeting and send an email to everyone involved with the points discussed in the meeting. Keep others in the loop wherever possible. If your boss calls you out for something you did not do, ensure that you clarify the issue in front of others.
For instance, if your boss gives you the wrong instructions and then blames you for making the mistake, be straightforward and ask, on a team call, “These were the instructions given to me by you, shall we check the record/minutes of the meeting?”
Another good practice would be to take names and give credit wherever possible. This will ensure that everyone remembers their tasks, and no one blames the other for not doing their bit.
5. Follow Up Regularly
It’s important to be on top of things, whether it’s your tasks, leaves, taxes, or responsibilities.
If your boss has told you they’d get back to you regarding a task, hold them accountable. You must take your role seriously for anyone else to take your requests and demands seriously.
Among the many things the second wave of COVID-19 has taught us, one glaring truth is that a company cannot function without happy, healthy employees. As an employee, it is your responsibility to hold your boss and your company accountable so that your journey in the organisation is smooth and productive. You’re there for your company – they must be there for you too!