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The Favorite Employee...

Of the bureaucratic part of the organization (which is a necessary part of every organization) is in the following order:

  • Least Favorite - the manager who turns paperwork in late, wrong, or not at all because it gets in the way of them "doing real work". AKA - the jerk.

  • Second Least Favorite - the manager who does the work, but simply does it as a check-the-box activity, not caring if it is accurate, thorough, or timely.

  • Favorite - the manager who understands why paperwork is necessary, who focuses on the paperwork they complete, and does everything they can to make paperwork efficient and effective (including suggesting ways to reduce it). AKA - Rock Star.

Nobody likes paperwork. It is necessary though. Paperwork/administrative work is key to communication and memory of the organization. In all likelihood, someone in the organization needs that information. You thinking it isn't important is essentially telling someone their job isn't important.

Your job, as a great manager, is to find a way to get the administrative tasks done on time, with high quality, in the most efficient way possible. If you do that, you'll find that you are well-liked and respected throughout the organization.

When you learn who uses the information and why, you not only gain appreciation for why it is done, but you find ways to make the process better. That will make your life easier and people will see you as a problem-solver.

Here is one example: in one role I was the head of HR, which meant we were responsible for tracking hours and pay rates. However, we didn't handle payroll - that was done by accounting. We had information we had to get them, but it was a pain for us and we didn't understand why we were doing it. I worked with my HR team to meet with the accounting team and we found a way to get the information to them faster and more effectively. It required us changing one of our processes and systems. It required accounting to adjust their process as well. But it made all our lives easier.

The key to this example is that both departments complained about the process, but we never got together to see what the other needed. Once we knew that, we could come up with solutions.

Don't complain about paperwork or avoid it - figure out how to make it better.

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