Between two bosses

Reporting to two bosses can be difficult task, especially if you are not cut out for it. But a little patience and excellent communication skills can go a long way in helping you get there.

While most people find it difficult to handle one boss, there are occasions when executives are required to report to two bosses simultaneously. For instance, due to the economic slowdown, most companies are in the retrenchment mode. As a result, multi-tasking becomes important to justify yourself as a valuable resource. Such situations often give rise to dual reporting.

Everyone seems to be talking about multi-projects, multi-roles and multi-managers. With globalization, and now recession, employees now recession, employees may have to report to more than one manager. But this depends on the cross-departmental nature of the job.

Dual reporting would be based on the function or business and the geographical location. When a company functions across locations, dual reporting is required to pool in knowledge and functional inputs.

Dealing with two bosses at the same time can be a tricky task; it requires wit and clear thoughts.

Here are some tips to help you take both the bulls by the horns:

Quick Take

1. Set the expectations right
2. Different personalities have different leadership styles. Try and work around it.
3. Be assertive
4. Communication is the key

Routine Talks:

Handling your routine itself can become a challenge. S P, who works in a bank and handles operations for two locations, shares her experience: Initially she used to get confused with the responsibilities assigned by the location heads. Later, she requested them to send her the tasks in writing. This helped her a lot as she can refer to their request as per her convenience and work on it.

Different Manager Styles:

It is important to understand the working style of each manager. For instance, if you need a day off, it’s important to communicate it in a way that the manager wishes to be informed. While one may want a written note or at least an e-mail for, the other may be flexible to accept verbal requests. To avoid goof ups, it’s advisable to document everything.

Keep them informed:

It’s important to keep your bosses informed about the tasks you handle. R I, who works in an animation company says he has two bosses as he is usually working on two projects. He ensures that he has a chart of activities with their deadlines listed on them. This keeps them posted about his schedule and bandwidth.

According to RI, priority conflicts should always be communicated immediately: Explain your situation and request the bosses to workout a plan of action so that you are not in a soup.

Managing two bosses who don’t get along is a task. However, playing the role of a mediator can help. RI’s bosses don’t get along well however, he needs their assistance. So whenever there is a clash of priorities, he calls for a meeting and present the problem so that they can arrive at a mutual decision.

Be Positive:

It is important not to be negative about one boss or complain about him/her to the other. On the contrary, if you talk well about your bosses, you may unknowingly score some brownie points.

Sometimes out of the two bosses one may be ‘Administrative’ and the other may be functional. If this is not clear it is better to seek the help of HR department to outline the clarity so that you do not suffer and also there is no clash between the bosses.