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Careers: The Road To The Future... Who Do You Work For?
By Bert Sadtler, Senior Contributor


Companies today must re-assess their talent needs in order to remain competitive and drive growth. The satellite communications industry faces challenges but remains ripe with opportunities. Great talent can make a huge impact. Employers need to get it right and make a “great hire” every time.

To discuss career and leadership issues, we asked Bert Sadtler of Boxwood Strategies and Executive Search (http://www.BoxwoodSearch.com) to provide his insight. Boxwood is a management, consulting-recruiting firm with offices in The Greater Washington DC Region and The Tampa Bay, Florida Region. 

Who do you work for? Why is this such a critical question? Why is this a question that should frequently be asked?

The obvious (and wrong) answer is that you work for the company whose name appears on the check they send to you. At every level of a business, the members of the company are working for that business. From leaders to the staff level, they all work for their employer. 

To continue with the wrong answer, men and women deliver their services and the business benefits from the work produced. When those men and women are asked “Who do you work for?” the answer is always delivered with the name of the business that pays them. In fact, the person asking the question is expecting to hear a response that includes the name the business who writes the paycheck.

Many professionals define their business identity by feeling a higher degree of self-worth if they are employed by a “blue-chip” named business.

However, what about the less than obvious (and the correct) answer? What if we look at “Who do you work for?” in regard to the “who” being a person, and not a company?

• Doesn’t everyone report to someone?
• Who does the rank and file employee work for? 
• Who does the supervisor work for? 
• Who does the CEO work for? 

Isn’t business about people and the ability for all to work well together? What about the loss of productively when people don’t work well together?

Think about the impact for potential change when you find that your employer has you reporting to someone new? Now the “new who” is someone that you report to but they did not select you for your role. 

Think about what triggers professionals to consider a change of employment. 

A leading factor for employee departure is management change. Regardless of the level of seniority, when the person who you report to changes, you are now reporting to someone who inherited you. Professionals frequently overlook the significance of this moment.

• Your new boss didn’t hire you and may, or may not, have the same style and the same direction as your previous boss. There is a reason that your previous boss is gone.
• How did you feel about the manager who hired you? Probably pretty good. How do you feel about the new boss? 

Isn’t “Who do you work for?” answered by the name of the individual to whom you report? (Yes, it is!) When you are thinking about your office and your place of employment, don’t you think of it in terms of the people and the person you report to? Knowing who you work for is critical because it defines how well you fit your job.

• Being really good at your work is always good
• However, the technical part of your work will change
• Having good chemistry with your manager and being a cultural fit is key
• Productive employees are usually found working for managers they get along with
• As a leader/manager, you want people reporting to you that fit within your team culture
• With changes in a manager, each team member should immediately recognize they are developing a new relationship
• With changes in a manager, each team member is informally interviewing for their job
• The informal interview is not about technical qualifications to perform the job, it is about the chemistry fit with the new manager

Today’s marketplace sees management change as a frequent event. Most professionals see management change as the normal course of business. Business professionals would be better served by taking more notice of “Who do you work for?”

Team members should be prepared to present and discuss their efforts and results with their new manager as soon as possible. They should be taking an assessment of what the new manager is looking for and the new manager’s style. In most cases, it may be better to have several shorter conversations versus one long meeting. The multiple conversations offer a better chance to observe the manager’s style and approach.

New managers are taking on their new role for a reason. Was their predecessor dismissed for lack of performance? Is this role due to company growth? Was there a promotion? Some managers have been hired as agents of change and can be expected to make alterations. All managers have been hired to be accountable for their team. As such, they need to quickly find out who on the team is a fit and who is not.

With new management, changes can be expected. If the change come as a surprise, the situation can become difficult. 

• As the new boss, you need to get results from the people you have inherited or deal with them as part of the problem you were hired to fix.
• As team members of a new manager, invest the time to figure out if you are a fit with your new boss.
• In the event there is a “miss-fit” that can be recognized quickly, the team member and manager may have the option of re-assigning the team member to another team.

“Who do you work for?” has become a critical question in today’s dynamically changing workplace. This question can be likened to keeping your eye on the ball.

Frequently ask yourself this question—make certain you know the answer and that the person who you work with is someone that you will get along with on the job.

Good hunting.

About the author
Bert Sadtler is the President of Boxwood Search and a Senior Contributor for SatMagazine. Contact Bert at BertSadtler@BoxwoodSearch.com for more information.