Time spent trying to please your boss is processing waste and provides no value to your customers. Leaders and staff need to recognize this as a major cultural problem because it will negatively affect the long-term success for your organization.
Mark Lovas, one of the best leaders I have ever worked with, blogged in “Being on purpose and off self“:
Leadership: how much time do your people spend trying to please you versus getting the desired results? Are they experts at managing their leaders and mediocre at doing the actual thing? Are they getting good at the job or managing up? I’ve found a tremendous amount of time can be wasted by approval seeking within a company. Powerpoint, meetings, and calls devoted to finding a sense of confidence in the organization, not doing the actual thing.
In my experience, most leaders are not people who consciously demand this sort of activity, but it often persists because those that manage up often receive public praise and promotions. You would be surprised how much time is spent when staff feel the need to game the system to look good for the boss. Think about how that time could be better spent doing Kaizen!
Spend time assessing for “managing up” behavior. It will be a challenging improvement because the causes will be deeply embedded in the system. The benefit will be a clearer focus on the customer, freed up time to use in creating value, and capacity for future improvements.