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Hi all,

My manager is due to leave for his two week holiday soon and I've been asked to cover for the last week before he is due back.

This is the first time I've been asked and I'm still relativity new at the office and also the youngest team member by a great deal. The manager has promised that if the place don't 'burn down' while he is away it will become a regular thing.

So what I would like to know is if you have any advice or tips during this week? The kind of tasks I will be asked to do are responding to e-mails and taking part in audio calls on behalf of my manager.

The only idea I have is a simple note on my managers desk ready for when he starts back with a brief run down of what has been going on.

Mark's picture

Gareth-

We certainly have a cast on this in the queue, but here are some thoughts:

Shame on your manager for not being clear what the standards are.

Lacking that, analyze your boss's habits to determine four things: waht to go to, what to communicate, what to decide, and what to wait on.

"Go to" means meetings, when you will be representing your boss.

"Communicate" means what to tell him about. Some like a lot, some like a little.

"Decide" means stuff you can use his power to say yes or no to.

"Wait" is really not a decision but a result.

Lacking anything else, do what you think is best until you feel that what you are going to do could REALLY mess things up. And wait on that.

Hope this helps!

Mark

Gareth's picture

Thanks Mark,

I'll let you know how everything went, I'm looking forward to my first real taste of management.

indiana's picture

I like your idea of preparing a summary of what happened when he was away. Though- think about if he is a reader or a listener or a high C or D. If a listener then, you could leave him a series of bullet points then book 30 mins with him to tell him what happened. Whatever works for him.

Also you could write up any learnings or special experiences from the week into your CV as you might not remember them in the future.

Gareth's picture

[quote="indiana"]I like your idea of preparing a summary of what happened when he was away. Though- think about if he is a reader or a listener or a high C or D. If a listener then, you could leave him a series of bullet points then book 30 mins with him to tell him what happened. Whatever works for him.

Also you could write up any learnings or special experiences from the week into your CV as you might not remember them in the future.[/quote]

I'm still learning the DISC profile (as I guess we all are) and just starting to grasp it so I'm not 100% sure what to class him as. I have my ideas but nothing firm just yet.

Based on what has worked in the past he does seem to respond well to something he can read and its the main reason I mentioned a written/e-mail summary for him.

As for keeping it on my CV, the position I'm in now means one month I have a review and the following month I have a 1 to 1. Both will provide me a chance to record this. I do however have my own diary of things I have done away from the normal such as this.

Thanks for the suggestion, the DISC type really got me thinking.

trandell's picture

I echo the points here, especially Mark's breakdown. I've been in the same spot and I typically schedule a pre- and post-vacation briefing to get clarity on what I need to do and what is expected of me and to get the boss back up to speed upon their return. Definitely do not stand by and let your boss take off without at least trying to get clarity and some standards. Otherwise, you leave yourself vulnerable to interpretation and perception which lowers the odds of you coming through looking good.

Gareth's picture

Today I came to understand the real reason why my manager hasn't told me anything. After listening to your advise I spoke to my manager and asked him if he could spend 5-10min going over anything important and/or just a general overview of what he expects/wants.

His answer didn't really shock me, based on witnessing past examples, however it did feel like a kick in the teeth. His answer was to simply 'attach' myself to one of the other members of the team who cover often.

I understand that taking on his role is a big responsibility but when he doesn't give me any advice and simply expects me to pick it up from someone else it just seems like he doesn't really cares.

Anyway, I'm dealing with what I have and like always will be doing what I can the best I possibly could.

Thank you for take the time to read my little moan. :shock:

trandell's picture

Is that a cruddy response from your manager, or what?! I'd still do the post-vacation meeting. Try the same approach the next time he asks you to cover. If you get the same response, you may be stuck with the situation.

Mark's picture

Really inspiring, that guy.

Ah, well. That's why we're here.

Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On. (not literally, just emotionally over this issue).

Mark