Having a career first in modeling and then in business media, I am acutely aware of which side of my face is my “good side.” It’s the one with a small scar under my eye. It’s the side where my hair is inclined to swing in, rather than weirdly swing out, as it does on the other side. And, it’s also the driver side, so it takes in more sun.
Do I seem to know my good side well? Yes, I do. Because at one point it was extremely key to how I earned my living. In any business endeavor, it’s prudent to know your assets and protect them. That’s true whether it’s your brains, your building or whatever it is that’s central to your creating wealth.
On the other hand, I did not think I had a “good side” that people refer to when they want to be in good favor with you. I thought I pretty much made the same decisions whether the day was turning out great or not so great.
That was until last week, when a young manager at work told his sisters who were helping out on a project: “Stay on Nance’s good side because she has a lot of these types of projects.” Oh! My good side is no longer the state of my face! My good side is also how confident I am that things are going well with your work and I have trust in you.
I guess most managers have a good side, although it might just seem they are playing favorites among staff. They likely are not.
Managers are generally looking for the shorthand way to do anything or everything. And, the quickest way to get something done right is to give it to someone we trust. That someone who will do great work whether they are supervised or not. Whether they like the work or not. Someone who proves they are a match for the task at hand, up for a challenge, and quick about getting work done right.
How do you stay on a manager’s good side when you are not up for the task? When you can’t do what’s been asked?
You tell them. Right way. There’s not a successful manager or successful organization that doesn’t know sometimes we are asking too much. We just don’t know when or how much.
The solution? Tell us right away. Tell us what you need, whether it’s more time, information, support, resources – or someone else who can do the task better than you.
I repeat this mantra often – as does every successful manager perhaps in his or her own words:
Truth is my best friend.
The only way for you to move up or forward in the venture of your choice with the type of stability or trajectory you want your career:
Tell the truth.
Ask for the truth.
And face the truth.
That will reveal your best side.