How many bosses do you have? At one point in my programming career I had five people who could give me orders and expect them to be carried out, even if those directions conflicted with another boss’ wishes. I was answerable to the GM, OM, regional PD, corporate head of news/talk and the in-house consultant. They were generally on the same page. But when they weren’t – look out below!
Such tangled lines of authority are becoming common in American business. So much so, that the Harvard Business Review blog recently carried an article about how to survive (and maybe even thrive) a web of bosses.
Among the tips from management expert Robert Sutton:
• Don’t under-estimate the pressures of the situation. You will face a potential overload of assignments, conflicting direction and competing demands for loyalty.
• Encourage your bosses to communicate on the issues that impact you, including your workload. It’s better to be pro-active than to fail to meet expectations that you knew were unrealistic.
• Identify your ultimate boss: “Be sure to ask a lot of questions about the reporting structure. Find out who completes your reviews, and who contributes to them. Ask who makes decisions about your compensation, promotions, etc. Understanding who holds the most power will aid you in making decisions about how to act. While this may seem mercenary, it's important to know from the outset who can help and hurt your career.”
• Get sneaky if necessary. “Most organizations are not [healthy] and yours may not reward transparency and being proactive. You may find that when conflicts arise between your bosses that they are unresponsive or unwilling to meet with you to resolve them. This requires a different approach.
“If you're in a fear-based environment, you have to figure out how to protect yourself. The worse the environment the more sneaky you have to get … Figure out which of the bosses you work with has the most power and prioritize his or her assignments. The smart employee doesn't ask. Instead, do your own calculation of who is more powerful and who would hurt you the least.”
Influence Peddling: The Real Power of Facebook
How many people have “liked” your Facebook page? That many? Nice! So, how are you using these folks to grow your show or station? According to social media expert Ron Schott, you need to identify your most ardent active fans – the ones who are most likely to talk about you on their social network -- and turn them into true marketing partners.
“To create a base of true persuaders, you need to build a one-on-one relationship with each of your top influencers,” says Schott. “This means connecting with them personally, and valuing their input and feedback as if they were key members of your team. This may seem daunting, but the payoff is huge.”
Here is Schott’s five-step program for turning fans into true “persuaders,” who will help grow your audience, brand and sales.
Schott obviously assumes that his readers have a base line knowledge of social media measurement and research tools. Such skills tend to be scarce at radio stations. Social media, in one form or another, is here to stay. Management should make sure their web staff knows how to make the most of it. Aspiring producers and promotions people should also master these new channels. A staffer who can turbo-charge the ratings with social media savvy will have a serious edge in the competition for jobs and promotions.
Randall Bloomquist is President of Talk Frontier Media, which provides a range of services including station consulting, talent development, content creation, and strategy for organizations looking to build relationships with talk media. Reach Randall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-551-2340