Vivek Paranjpe, Consultant & Strategic HR Advisor to Reliance Industries answers professional and ethical dilemmas faced by our readers at their workplace.
I work for a multinational software technology company where my role is primarily to work on marketing the brand in India. While it is an established name in the US, in India, it is still in its growing phase. We follow a matrix structure and my role in the marketing function requires me to work closely with the Indian as well as the US counterpart. Although, I have a clear reporting structure in the India office, being an online organization which has a global presence, a lot of workflow also happens from the corporate office in the US. I have recently joined the organization in a middle management role. In the last couple of months of my joining, on more than one instance, there have been cases where I have had to juggle between deadlines from different reporting bosses in India and the US. Though I have handled it decently well until now, I am afraid I am not sure I understand if I can perhaps prioritize better to be more effective when deadlines are clashing. Further, is it appropriate to tell one reporting boss that your hands are full with work from another?
Having worked for multinationals for close to three decades, I can fully empathize with you. This is a classic issue that comes up in any matrix organization. The only way to deal with this is to ensure that you keep both the bosses in loop all the time.
I found an easy way out by creating common monthly report of just one page for both the bosses, summarizing the month. This report normally included:
1. Targets/goals for the month,
2. Achievements of the month,
3. Targets and goals for the next month,
4. The challenges/issues/possible road blocks for the next month.
5. Help needed to succeed
In this way, both the bosses become aware of the magnitude and complexity of work that you are handling and the issues that you are facing. It is also a good idea to help both these bosses periodically meet each other especially while they travel to each other’s locations, plan joint video conferences to review performance and review of common issues. Ideally, the two bosses must network on their own amongst themselves. If they don’t, as a responsible and interested party, you facilitate their networking.
To sum up – ensure both the bosses are in loop of what you are doing and are aware of your achievements and challenges. They will certainly help you prioritize work. I am sure they are reasonable, just communicate and connect with them.
Vivek is a Senior HR professional with over 35 years of experience, ranging several leadership positions, in India and abroad. He leads his consulting practice since 2003 and presently works as a Strategic HR Advisor to Reliance Industries, and is also an independent Director on the Board of Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd. Prior to this he was based at Singapore for several years where he was Director HR - Operations at Hewlett Packard for the Asia Pacific Region.
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