Why Your Boss Seems Clueless

Posted on April 5, 2011


I’m going to let you in on a little secret about radio station program directors; just promise to keep it to yourself ok?

Most program directors probably know a lot about how to schedule music with Selector, how the promotions department works, how to deal with record label reps and maybe, though not always, how to work with the sales team instead of against them.

But they probably have no idea, and absolutely no training, in managing people.

This phenomenon isn’t limited to radio. A new Career Builder survey reports more than one-quarter of managers say they weren’t ready to become a leader when they started managing other people and over half didn’t receive any management training.

In radio, somewhere along the line you learn about things like rotations and ticket giveaways, but no one ever says, “Hey, the morning team is at each other’s throats for the fifth time this month.  Why don’t you sit in on this meeting and watch while I try to defuse it?”

The Career Builder survey indicates some of the toughest issues managers say they have to face include: dealing with issues between co-workers; motivating team members; performance reviews; finding resources to support their team; and creating career paths for their team.

Try to remember this when your program director makes a completely boneheaded decision about something that affects you. Keep in mind, they are trying their best to juggle the station’s needs, the company’s needs, and a team of employees with a wide variety of issues and idiosyncrasies, probably without any training in how to do so.

I’m not writing this to drum up pity for your program director, especially a clueless one. There are no shortage of ways to quickly learn how to be a better manager. I am writing this to help you understand why your boss seems so clueless and hopefully provide some helpful suggestiosn for dealing with him or her.

Allison Nawoj, a Career Builder spokesperson, says, “It’s important for employees to ‘manage up’ when they may be faced with a boss who has little training.” Here are her suggestions for how to do that:   

  •  Make sure you communicate with your boss clearly about your performance and successes,
  • Share with them how they can improve as your manager and help you do your best work.
  • Even if you feel a little odd doing so, give suggestions and provide examples of how they can help you and share situations when you wished things had gone differently.

“This will help your manager get a better perspective on how to manage you and open up the lines of communication,” says Nawoj.