I read an article in the Globe and Mail this week entitled, “Dealing with an Irrational Boss”
One of the strategies it suggested to counteract the effects of a boss prone to rampages and the like, was to “put as many people as possible between you and your boss”
To me, (especially if you are a boss yourself), using other people as a cushion or perhaps even a shield to avoid direct contact with your own boss is not the way to model good leadership behaviour.
So, I’ve been having a think about an alternate approach when building a useful business relationship with the boss proves to be a challenge.
Here’s what comes to mind:
Know your Limits ~ We all place a limit on what we are willing to put up with when it comes to dealing with difficult people. Many of us don’t know what that limit is until we get there. By paying some attention to our personal values and being consciously aware of them, we have greater opportunity to stay well grounded even when we are standing in the eye of the boss’ s one-person hurricane.
Draw your Lines and Stand Your Ground ~ Being consciously aware of our limits allows us to know as soon as a line has been crossed. It is then that our strength of character is called into play. Allowing someone to exercise authority over us through fear and intimidation only encourages more of the same. Finding the courage to challenge such behaviour, (from Boss’s or anyone else), weakens their position.
As a cautionary note, standing your ground has its risks. However, If the boss is consistently tyrannical, and chooses to punish you for retaining your self-respect, working with him or her is not likely something you aspire to do over the long haul anyway. In this case, the wise person will be planning to make a change, job-wise.
Add Value ~ Unless your boss is a true monster, it is likely that his or her primary goal will not be to make your life a misery, even if it feels that way sometimes. As such, the key to the boss’s regard may just lie in finding ways to support and promote the achievement of organizational goals and encouraging those who work with you to do the same.
Make a Difference ~ People are watching. If you are a boss dealing with a difficult boss, know that you are being watched. The way you respond sends a message to all who follow you. Just because your boss is hard to deal with, doesn’t mean that you have to be that way too. Find ways to break the cycle. Make a difference by demonstrating what it means to be a good leader.
Resist Gossip ~ Irrational bosses are talked about. A Lot. It’s an outlet that allows people to lick their wounds in sympathy with each other. As a boss yourself, it serves little purpose to participate in “pity parties “of this nature, tempting though it may be. If you choose to spend your time complaining about your boss, your opportunity to make a breakthrough in your relationship with him or her will be diminished accordingly.
The bottom line is that while some bosses are so irrational they are beyond redemption, others may just require more work to establish common and mutually respectful ground.
What do you think?
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