[INTJ] Casual discussion/venting re: being in a position of authority in the workplace

Casual discussion/venting re: being in a position of authority in the workplace

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This is a discussion on Casual discussion/venting re: being in a position of authority in the workplace within the INTJ Forum - The Scientists forums, part of the NT's Temperament Forum- The Intellects category; For the tl;dr crowd, here are the questions: What do you like (expected and/or unexpected)? What do you dislike (expected ...

  1. #1

    Casual discussion/venting re: being in a position of authority in the workplace

    For the tl;dr crowd, here are the questions:

    What do you like (expected and/or unexpected)?
    What do you dislike (expected and/or unexpected)?
    What has surprised you most?
    Do you think you'll continue to pursue this level (or higher) of authority?

    Any anecdotes are welcome.


    For everyone else:

    This topic has come up in a couple of threads I've posted in recently and I thought it might yield some interesting discussion. I should add, though, that I have a weird, voyeuristic fascination with other peoples' workplaces.

    This is a recurring occurrence in my life: ending up in charge against my will. Not that I can't say no (in fact, I usually do), more that the instinct of "it needs to be done" kicks in or I resign myself to the likelihood of "I'm going to end up doing this in the long run and it'll be a bigger mess" so I take over, make it neat(er), and, ideally, hand it off.

    So, fairly recently I was forced into the highest position of authority (it does seem counter-intuitive, doesn't it) I can attain in my company. Basically, I was offered the position, declined, they never hired anyone else, and the person who needed replacing retired. With the exception of hiring an outside person, I was the obvious (and possibly also only) choice. Despite the fact that I had essentially 0-1 opportunities with the prior office manager to learn a good number of the completely foreign tasks I took over (but ya know, IT/diagnostics to bookkeeping is a fairly organic leap), I'm doing fine. The job isn't particularly difficult but it's not particularly rewarding, either.


    What do you like (expected and/or unexpected)
    I had a lot of freedom before but now I am at pretty much the whim of no one. The owner really could not care less about how my desk looks, what I'm wearing, etc. as long as work is done. I used to get a lot of irrelevant busy work and now that that's gone, I feel like I accomplish much more.

    The tone of the office has also changed - I want it to be a nice time. Before they got a lot of lectures or told "you'll never understand how to do this" while I am more about "teaching a man to fish" and letting people make and learn from mistakes. I don't like to feel incapable and I don't think anyone there is.

    What do you dislike (expected and/or unexpected)
    Even though I'm not responsible for HR issues, people really like to tell me things. Like all the time. I understand, I try to be receptive, but sometimes it's hard not to want to pull out the unfortunately fictional "wrap it up" box. Some like to talk just to talk, others will keep bringing something up that's not a huge priority on my list as if I have nothing else to do but worry along with them. I just exercise patience, avoid phrases like "welcome to adult life," and weather the storm. Pain is temporary.


    What has surprised you most?
    On the plus, it's actually not that much more responsibility than I already had. I was already next as far as seniority so when the office manager wasn't around, I already did 60% of the necessary parts of her job.

    Another plus is that some of the more difficult people have fallen into line fairly quickly. Oddly, a person I got along fairly well with tried to clown me, which was mildly disheartening.

    On the minus, having quickbooks dropped in your lap and being told essentially, "make sure the bills get paid thx bye" was a bit daunting. The idea of my success in this role being attributed to elements that were somewhat out of my control was a little uncomfortable. Normally I am able to tenaciously force success. Once I got the feel of the cash flow and simultaneously developed a nice, safe, comfy strategy for managing our bills, I was able to relax... a little.

    There is a pressure that comes with knowing you have to make sure there is enough money to pay E V E R Y O N E at work, including your boss. Handing out paychecks does make me feel like Santa

    Do you think you'll continue to pursue this level (or higher) of authority?
    Uncertain. I think if I did, I would either want to be in a different type of position (e.g. head of an IT team) or in a much more specific department (i.e. only AR or AP) because while the larger scope is nice for seeing the big picture, it's not fun to be the one accountable for many of the moving parts. Still, I'll manage while I'm here because the pay is really good and the owner gives me an extremely long leash.
    LittleMermaid, Venoshock, Squirt and 3 others thanked this post.



  2. #2
    INTJ - The Scientists

    What do you like (expected and/or unexpected)?
    What do you dislike (expected and/or unexpected)?
    What has surprised you most?
    Do you think you'll continue to pursue this level (or higher) of authority?

    Mine was no accident. I was tired of trying to run other people's unrealistic race. I egotistically thought I could do a much better job and started my own business from scratch.

    Like
    Expected:
    - FREEDOM! YEAH! Ok, it's not full freedom but; I've been sick this week, so I've been able to work from home all week! Neato huh? That was only mildly sarcastic; there is much more freedom than working for someone else and for this one thing alone I'll continue bearing all of the dislikes. Worth it.
    - The money. I do like being paid more than a pittance to work my ass off (which seems to be my automatic setting).

    Unexpected:
    - It's really forced me to grow(/mature?) in a way I suspect may have never otherwise happened.
    - Built a strong, sister-like relationship with my business partner (who I suspect is an ESFP) - that was totally unexpected and would never have happened outside these circumstances. (I don't have a sister and this outcome is one of the things that has surprised me the most.)
    - Occasionally people actually deliver what they promise - it feels like a small moment in heaven. Mainly I'm talking contractors here.

    Dislike
    Unexpected:
    - My lack of people skills (maybe some would call backbone?) has been a real problem. I have a relatively high tolerance and then when something builds up to a certain level the tolerance vanishes 'like a fart in the wind'. So it makes it difficult for people to know how they're doing or where boundaries are. The whole needing to set boundaries thing shocked me - I sincerely and naively thought that if you gave people a good wage, freedom, support etc. they'd have the room to be ace and not be weighed down by all the unrealistic bullshit I'd had to put up with. Maybe that's still true and my lack of people skills has meant I haven't found the right people yet. Maybe my expectations were unrealistic - I found MBTI and this website in my search to find out why people were behaving so insanely.
    - I am shocked...shocked!...by people's general helplessness. I feel like a surrogate mother to at least a quarter of the adults I deal with and I hate it. I'd feel insulted and embarassed if someone had to baby me but it seems to make many people feel comforted. Sometimes I'm unsure about whether they're just playing me and pretending they're useless so they don't have to do stuff; that's more about the customers though, because we wouldn't keep an employee suspected of that. (People's helplessness is the other thing that has surprised me the most.)
    - IT - I'm now less clueless about how important it is to have a good IT person. We're not big or rich enough to have an in-house person so it is a constant stress for me as I'm not strong in this area. LOL - I literally had no idea when we started.

    Expected:
    - Bookkeeping/Finance Planning - blerch! BOOORING!
    - Market changes and customer expectations. We work on a percentage of income and our market has dived (by at least 30%!) recently which means that we both have to hilariously operate with lower turnover, higher workload AND the higher expectations brought about both by this particular type of market (i.e. tenants have the power - more properties than people to live in them) + customer service improvements brought about by new technology in other industries. It's both a bummer and a challenge (challenge is not used as a negative here) but expected.

    Yes, I'll definitely continue. I won't give up the freedom unless I'm forced to.
    Last edited by LittleMermaid; 07-04-2019 at 02:44 PM.

  3. #3
    ISTJ - The Duty Fulfillers

    From the other side: Tell me EXACTLY what you want and when you want it, and then go away. If I have questions, I'll either ask you or call someone else in the department that may know. My boss is very good at this.
    stathamspeacoat thanked this post.

  4. #4

    What do you like (expected and/or unexpected)?
    Really nurturing people and helping them find their career paths where they've developed the skills they're interested in. Seeing you can mention ideas and they'll just run with it.

    What do you dislike (expected and/or unexpected)?
    Getting pulled into many silly meetings because being an officer of the company comes with that responsibility. I may not have an opinion on 95% of the meeting yet need to keep an eye on the 5% to say what I gotta say. Upside, though, is you get a full-picture view of what the company cares about - giving you the tools to sharpen your own business case.

    What has surprised you most?
    1 - Forming lifelong friendships, one of which with someone I secretly advised to work somewhere else lol. 2 - Learning that my boss supercares about me and the team. Even though he's too busy and confused to express that.

    Do you think you'll continue to pursue this level (or higher) of authority?
    I like to be busy in an area I specialize in which is also more of being a free agent but I might reconsider in X years' time.
    Squirt and stathamspeacoat thanked this post.

  5. #5

    I have almost always been in the highest position (owner), or nearly the highest position of authority for most of my working life. (now retired).

    Like: Autonomy. Able to see a business vision come true. Leadership. It's there or not. You have it or you don't. It has a price.
    . . . Self knowledge. I'm a far better owner than a boss or employee. Have a vision, expect results, delegate, follow through.

    Dislike:. It can tend to be solitary and perhaps, lonely, if you let it get to you. (It's lonely at the top but there's only room for one). There's really nobody you can trust that doesn't have self interest. I like to trust people. Help. Be benevolent when possible. Teach. Help others get ahead and learn. But, it is seldom rewarded.

    Surprised: Not really. But, there's no lasting friendships or relationships. Not really. Not truthfully. It just is.

    Continue? Did to the end. Retired now.
    LittleMermaid, Sela, Squirt and 1 others thanked this post.

  6. #6
    ISTJ - The Duty Fulfillers

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamuela View Post
    Dislike:. It can tend to be solitary and perhaps, lonely, if you let it get to you. (It's lonely at the top but there's only room for one). There's really nobody you can trust that doesn't have self interest. I like to trust people. Help. Be benevolent when possible. Teach. Help others get ahead and learn. But, it is seldom rewarded.
    Surprised: Not really. But, there's no lasting friendships or relationships. Not really. Not truthfully. It just is.
    Continue? Did to the end. Retired now.
    Interesting take on this. My current supervisor is INTJ although he is stepping down from the supervisory position at the end of the month after doing it for 23 years. He will still work there, he just doesn't want to be the boss anymore.
    I have self-interest, but realistically, I think everyone does to some degree. I want to advance but not at the expense of anyone else (unless they are lazy slackers, etc.). I obviously cannot reward my supervisor in the traditional sense (money, promotions, etc.), but I am extremely motivated and loyal to and for supervisors that have mentored me, treated me well, and encouraged me to seek out opportunities for growth. My current supervisor is my second-favorite supervisor that I've had at my employer, and I respond accordingly.
    Wellsy and stathamspeacoat thanked this post.

  7. #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Sela View Post
    Interesting take on this. My current supervisor is INTJ although he is stepping down from the supervisory position at the end of the month after doing it for 23 years. He will still work there, he just doesn't want to be the boss anymore.
    I have self-interest, but realistically, I think everyone does to some degree. I want to advance but not at the expense of anyone else (unless they are lazy slackers, etc.). I obviously cannot reward my supervisor in the traditional sense (money, promotions, etc.), but I am extremely motivated and loyal to and for supervisors that have mentored me, treated me well, and encouraged me to seek out opportunities for growth. My current supervisor is my second-favorite supervisor that I've had at my employer, and I respond accordingly.
    I think there's more to me than the INTJ/Mensa thing. Perhaps AAA driven. Perhaps growing up dirt poor and reading "Horatio Alger" books piled under my bed (poor boy in poverty through integrity and drive becomes successful in life).
    My most rewarding and contented, and financially successful, work years have been as an owner of companies.

    Have never really "worked well" with supervisors unless they were mentors. And, even then, my goal was to have their job. I said much on a job interview. A very high up supervisor asked what my long term goal was. I said, "your job". I was honest. He thought I was kidding and laughed. But, I was dead serious.

    I'm not sure how much of all this is an INTJ-A trait????
    Sela thanked this post.

  8. #8
    INTJ - The Scientists

    So I also kind of got thrust into management - I wanted the paycheck that went with it, so didn't complain and was seeking a higher position, but managing others isn't something I have a desire to do - but seems to be a requirement to get the paychecks the rest of my life desires LOL.

    Currently a Lease Administration Manager on a pretty sizeable portfolio, with a very large real estate company.

    What do you like (expected and/or unexpected)?

    Well, I like being able to make more decisions without always going to/through someone else, and also having some control over how my days go/are organized rather than someone else dictating how that's going to go down. So, some level of freedom, and being able to just make decisions as needed or move them to others if it's beyond my place - but I control if that happens or not.

    I also like being able to control the problems - people come to me with their problems/issues, which allows me some semblance of control on the outcome. The issue arises, however, when others cannot follow up and I need to babysit things that I cannot answer since the people below me don't always feel the need to really step up like they should/tend to drop balls.

    What do you dislike (expected and/or unexpected)?

    In general, managing other people. I've had some personnel issues, and I hate that touchy-feely, managing people part. I'm socially awkward myself, to trying to coach other people, with VERY different personalities, how not to be social idiots is a huge stress for me. Just thinking about it stresses me out.

    That, and managing those who aren't very good at managing themselves - I have dozens of reminders popping up daily to follow up on someone else's follow up, and that drives me BONKERS. I do it because I must, but I have my own stuff, too, so it gets time and energy consuming very quickly.

    What has surprised you most?

    I don't know that there were any huge surprises for me. I've worked in roles that were close enough, or worked closely with previous managers, that I kind of knew what to expect and what I would/would not like.

    The hardest part in my current situation was that I was promoted over someone else who technically has more years of experience (by a lot) and was on the account longer than me. IMO, she would definitely be the wrong person for the job, especially after managing her, but that made the transition really difficult, especially with all the other changes - we went from being equals with two people above us, to me taking over 2 1/2 people's jobs, promoted, and her taking up the remaining slack without a promotion. Needless to say, there was a bit of a rough transition for awhile, but I muddled through.

    Do you think you'll continue to pursue this level (or higher) of authority?

    If I could avoid it, no. I'd rather manage projects/programs, or higher level things, but the direct management of individuals is not what I want or see myself doing. The issue generally, however, is that in order to get those higher levels of management, you need to work through the individual management levels - which is part of why I am where I am.
    Squirt, stathamspeacoat and LittleMermaid thanked this post.

  9. #9

    Movin' on up, yeah? To a de-luxe apartment in the sky...

    I've completed this arc and don't want to go back. I got to 'mid-level' in politically correct terms, but in practical terms I was one step down from the highest position before I got away. Now I'm in recovery.

    What do you like (expected and/or unexpected)?
    As others have said, the autonomy and ability to set my own schedule/prioritize. I can see what needs to be done, so it bothered me to no end when issues arose, and I was unauthorized to do a thing about it. It was a relief to be involved with solving problems, being a part of a variety of projects, and making positive changes without worrying about stepping on toes or 'usurping authority.'

    What do you dislike (expected and/or unexpected)?
    I was defaulted to responsibilities at all levels of the company, making it impossible to do any one role to my best ability. Most of my dislikes revolve around not having the resources to do my job(s) properly. It is just not a good way to do business. The pay was not commensurate, either.

    What has surprised you most?
    I was surprised that most of the men I worked with responded positively to being challenged, even when it led to knock down, drag out arguments. They respected/accepted me more for it. I expected to be despised, and in some cases, fired.

    Do you think you'll continue to pursue this level (or higher) of authority?
    Part of me says I could try again, but most of me says no. I desire independence, but not by means of a high level of authority within an organization. I would need to have a deep sense of value behind the 'fight' that happens every day to make it worth it.
    LittleMermaid, Negotiator, Wellsy and 1 others thanked this post.

  10. #10

    I have a really hard time writing memos and not sounding like a smart ass. I'm really trying to be playful/light but I read them back to myself and they sound pretty bitchy.

    I gotta say, I love the common thread throughout the posts so far regarding dealing with helpless/emotional people. I know from experience I've found that people (in personal and work life) start to rely on me (I'll step back from using the word "co-dependent" but barely) because I do handle things and get it done. In all honesty, it's more of a burden than anything but at the same time, it seems to the reality.

    The person prior to me was an heavy enabler, always did everything for everyone down to getting concert tickets for other employees. They were especially swayed by tears and sad stories. ESTJ boss and I were like, "nah, we won't be doing that stuff anymore" and it has been very difficult for some, especially those that I feel naturally gravitate towards needing what I would consider an excessive amount of structure/hierarchy/guidance (I suspect this was actually the root of the row I had with my subordinate: I'm very hands-off and she's used to - and I believe enjoys - being micromanaged).

    I think the hardest part is people whose mindset is "I can't" as a justification (especially when they have put no effort into it) when "I can't" for me is a crushing feeling of defeat. It's an unacceptable excuse most of the time. It tries my patience heavily and I'll admit I have lashed out on occasion with something to the effect of "you're not a fucking child and I will not be coddling anyone. Try again."
    Squirt and EyesOpen thanked this post.


     
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