Hi all thanks for your help.


I have looked at similar threads on this before about a reticent Boss.

Those threads were a few years old and am hoping for additional ideas.

My Boss is a High S and High I.    I am much more of a High C and High I.

 She recently challenged me to be a better manager so I came to Manger Tools.

Her biggest complaint is that I don't know my Directs very well and that I don't know what they are doing regularly.

I've listened to many Pod-casts and floated the idea to her that I'd like to start 

Weekly Team meetings and weekly O3's.

She said she thinks our staff is mostly less formal and would not like O3's.

She is resistant to my conducting "more meetings" since meetings around here don't always go so well.

We have a small office and I only have 5 directs.

When I explained the purpose of O3's she asked why I don't build my relationship with my directs by walking around and talking with them instead.  

I do go around for morning greetings and engage in the basic small talk.  I smile and chit-chat in the break room - but I still feel that I don't my directs as well as MT suggests I should.

My Boss is against more meetings and thinks the O3 format is too formal and awkward.  She is against formality and strict method approaches.

She is accusing me of not adapting my High C behavior to fit my direct's needs. 

And that the O3 is just a formal way of doing what she does - walking around talking with folks.  And that is what I should do more of instead.  

Which is something I try and am not very good at apparently especially since she has asked me to be a better manager because I don't know what my Directs are up to.

Thanks for any input.


hyubdoo23's picture

Is she just echoing feedback she's received from one or more of your directs? How does she know what their needs are?

How does she manage you? Does she know you and what you are doing?

How long have you been in this work-relationship?

In my opinion, you can try MBWA, but it doesn't work as effectively as the O3. Is she asking you to be a "better" manager, or a "more in my style" manager?

peter's picture

Difficult situation but I would really focus on what a high S is looking for. The one-on-one as described in steps by MT might sound very C-ish for a S. If you "wrap" it in S-speak it might work better. For instance you could make it your objective to have an informal 15min conversation with every direct during the week with a focus on the direct. You would keep track of those. Basically 1-on-1s.

Additionally I would consider carefully how to report progress back to your boss. Pulling out your notes file might seem to C-ish but showing you know casually knowledge of your directs might be perfect.

uncleauberon's picture

 Hyub & Peter , 

Thanks for your questions and comments.

I've decided to take the slower approach similar to what Peter is suggesting.

My Boss asked if I could piggy-back onto her regular Weekly meetings as my staff members can be required to attend.

I asked if that offer was still open, as long as she doesn't mind me going over my team specific issues in the general meeting.  She agreed.  

I suppose if the weekly team meeting goal can be met that way then fine.... if it becomes obvious that we should have our own meetings she will suggest it.

For  O3's I told her that I was holding off of the formal approach for now, and am going to make sure that do a weekly "unscheduled" employee focused chat each week.  I suggested that when my directs start noticing, then I will suggest that we make it a regularly scheduled thing. So that the O3s develops more organically.  My Boss seemed to like that idea.

- Answers to questions

* My Boss does things by what I call "Management by Chocolate"

I Mis-labeld her - after further consideration, I think she is a High S High D

She has a big Chocolate bowl on her desk and she encourages folks to drop by and keep her in the loop with personal and work related activities.   If you don't drop by reguarlly and chit-chat then you get marked as not a team player and she is not quite sure how to manage you. {That's when her D comes out}

We worked together as peers for several years and then both applied for the Executive Director Position seven (7) years ago.

She got it.  And promptly promoted me and gave me directs to supervise.

Often she treats me as an Assistant Director and she confides a great deal of business with me.

I can honestly say she is doing the Boss job better than I could and she is the best Boss I have ever had.

I get a lot of respect and leeway from her.  And she has told me for several years she wants to groom me for when she retires next year or so.


* Yes, this is mostly generated for one direct in particular, who my Boss is re-aligning out from under me - to become her direct.

After the first year of training her, I pretty much let this direct fly free without much supervision.  She works a great deal directly with Boss and on a variety of projects.    She becomes a bit perturbed when I drop in and ask her what's going on.  Apparently she doesn't like me to play my role power like that.  Neither does my Boss.  

I've been in a tough spot.... since I am discouraged from regular formal meetings with my directs and I don't seem to do the casual chit-chat well - I'm really not sure how I'm supposed to manage and supervise my folks.  Most of my directs adapt pretty well... but this one is a High I&S and she is a Jr. Professional so she is something of a Peer that I also supervise.  This direct is now being re-aligned;  so that's that.

* Has this happened before ? Yes, my computer tech guy (a direct) got hammered because a virus got into a system.  The crap passed right by me and slammed right on him.  I even tried to step in the way - and a senior exec in the org wouldn't hear of it.  For political reasons they used that as a chance to reorganize my Computer Tech into a completely different Dept. 

And once I had a direct transfer positions and immediately ask to be managed directly by my Boss because she thought I was prejudice against her as a minority. Strangely because I shared an office with this direct for  over a year and I thought we got to know each other pretty well, she was a very good performer and I always told her so.   My Boss said she didn't believe I was prejudice or behaved in a discriminating way, but she didn't want to force that direct to be uncomfortably supervised.

Oh well - for as wonderful as she is my Boss isn't perfect.

Luckily, she is not inflexible and among all of the other employees around here I have a great deal of influence in the Org and with the Boss.

mattpalmer's picture

I haven't gone through the rest of your post in enough detail to respond, but I just wanted to note that S and D are at complete opposites, and getting someone who is both is uncommon.  Without knowing more about how you came to the conclusion you have, I would suspect that you're probably misinterpreting something in her behaviour.

uncleauberon's picture

 Yes mattpalmer,  I can see your confusion.

I have been trained in the Birkman model and am a little new to DiSC.

I am approaching this with a blend.  Birkman, to simplfy, says that people have a usual work behavior and a stressed work behavior.

Generally, my Boss shows High S behavior.  That's when things are going OK or very well.

The better things are, the bigger her S gets.  

Heck, yesterday she bought the entire staff lunch and had it delivered.

When things aren't going well, or if she is dealing with an employee that does not respond well to her High S behavior - she behavies more like a High D.

My job,  is to do my best to keep the Boss out of stress.  I like the Chocolate Lady, even if she frustrates me with her lack of C.

BTW I am a High C with High I when Things are going very well.   When under stress... I act a big C only.