So it’s been a while since I have done a “working” piece. Quick recap, at prior roles I have been a manager who hired and fired staff. Now it’s been a minute since then but not that long ago. So take my advice here with a grain of salt. Now what I am about to reveal isn’t rocket science, you could probably come to the same conclusion. BUT as a former manager I can tell you the people who had these items I always tried to do more for.
Gender, Race, Religion, Sexuality it didn’t matter to me. If you had these traits, I tried to pay you more. I without a doubt favored staff who exhibited these traits. I know that’s probably not politically correct but I am being real here. I’m telling you right now your manager at work values these items as well. So what are these magical traits?
I know you have probably heard this buzz phrase all over the place recently. It’s the intangible traits that are exhibited by the individual. These are without a doubt some of the biggest factors in your success or failure within a role. You not only have to be aware of them but hone them in to capitalize on them. I work for money so I can afford to do the things I like to do. I’m guessing you are very similar, so here is a list of a few “soft skills” that will help you make more money at work and get more perks.
- Dependability: You show up every day ready to work.
- Positive attitude: This is self-explanatory
- Communication: It’s not just sending the email, its ensuring that people understand what you mean.
- Adaptability: If someone is out, can I look to you to fill in or do I have to ask someone else?
- Conflict Resolution: Conflict happens; can you resolve it internally or at the first sign of trouble are you emailing HR?
Now these might be vague but I think you get the gist. The point is most employees have a few of these traits (less and less these days it seems) but some have many. Now some people call them names a “beta” or “brown noser” as a manager my name for them? MVP. These are the people I rely on the most and any good manager worth their salt will make sure those individuals are paid well and cared for.
As an example, I worked with a woman we will call Pam. Pam reported to me directly. She had great soft skills she really excelled at her role it was a pleasure to have her in my dept. I had another person I will call Heidi. Heidi was generally a pain in the ass, but Heidi did one specific task better than anyone else and that made her valuable. I needed her, or so I thought. So one day Heidi tells me she needs 3 weeks off to prepare for her sister’s wedding. I try and be sympathetic to her but I simply didn’t have the ability to “give” her 3 weeks off. See she wanted it above and beyond her PTO time.
I told her I couldn’t do that and she should put in a PTO time off request for any time she needed (she didn’t have 3 weeks btw). Heidi emails HR, tells them I was rude (because I said no). I get the call from HR, I talk to them, they get it and they handle it. 2 weeks go by Heidi says nothing things are working as per normal. Heidi comes in at the end of the day and quits, saying she HAS to have the time off for the wedding prep and if I won’t let her go she is quitting. I say as little as possible.
She leaves, I let HR know. Now luckily Heidi wrote a resignation letter. It wasn’t flattering to me, but it wasn’t horrible either, this is important later. Next work day I start cleaning up Heidi’s desk and taking that work. Pam asks what’s going on, I tell her Heidi is no longer with the company. Pam starts intercepting people who would normally come see Heidi and she begins to do her work (I never asked, I was going to get a temp). I thank her, and this buys me time to get a qualified temp which I do 2 weeks later.
I get an email a month later, Heidi wants to come back to work. I tell her “sorry the position is filled” which leads to a meltdown along the lines of “I’m sorry I was under a lot of stress, etc., so on”. I refer her to HR, the temp is working out, I offer them the role and they accept. Pam’s review comes up, I give her a stellar review due to the Heidi situation. I went to the CFO and asked for a special 5K bonus to be taken out of my dept. budget, which reduced my annual bonus (part of my comp was a % of the amount I was under budget). I gave her a 6% raise, the highest I could at the time and give her 3 “Oh shit” days.
Those are days when something happens randomly and you don’t want to use PTO but you are stuck. Think flat tire, furnace goes out during the night you get the picture. Basically 3 days I cover for her, she gets paid, we don’t use PTO. This wasn’t official policy but a lot of managers did it. The point of all this? Pam stepped up when I needed her to because that’s who she was. I rewarded her with as much as I could for doing it. Heidi? She left voice mails crying for her job, which she never got back.
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