The Worst Boss

It is one of the most frustrating and demoralizing things we can face in our professional lives, and we have all been there; we have all said it.  “My boss is an idiot!”  Boss, can mean supervisor, manager, etc.  There are many different ways to express this sentiment, but it all boils down to the same thing.  Our expectations from our boss are not being realized.  So, what do you do when you have a bad boss?  There are only two options.

  1. Support them. This is the ideal option.  If you have a boss that is receptive to feedback and is trying to do a good job, this is where you want to be! Sometimes people are hired or promoted based on many things, but sometimes on potential.  If you can help them get better, then do it!  As a leader, there is nothing better than having people there to support you.  Knowing your team is there to make you better and that want to push the team to meet the organizational objectives is the best situation to be in.
  2. Change nothing. You can continue with how you are working and change nothing.  This is an option if things are going well and you just have a poor performing boss.  Or if your boss is weak and refuses to listen or their ego won’t let them.  Although, this is a very frustrating person to work for, usually, your boss’s boss will know how they are performing and you won’t have to deal with them long.

The last thing you want to do is to try to sabotage or make your boss look bad.  Doing so will cause much more drama than it is worth and there is a very real possibility you will lose your job.  They have the positional power and will wield it regularly, especially if you are trying to sabotage them.

Most of the advice you are likely to get is to keep pushing through, and things will work out.  That your efforts will be noticed and even if your boss is bad, you will be promoted or recognized in the way you need.  But this doesn’t always happen.  The best thing you can do it read the situation, if it is really bad, begin looking for a new position or place to work.  If you can deal with the bad things your boss does and you are otherwise happy with where you are at, then stay and enjoy those things that make you happy.  Decide on what you want and work to make that goal happen.  Sometimes you will need your boss to reach your goal if so, build a relationship with them and make it happen.

Managers make a huge difference in our lives, and bad ones can make things miserable.  But good ones can make a good situation great if you can find them!

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Ego Clouds Judgement

When I was active duty Air Force, our organization had an E-9 (for you AF peeps, get over it, he was not a Chief). He would stand in front of the monthly all-hands meeting and put his hands on his hips like Superman. He would then tell the organization and all the leaders everything we did wrong. There was not a positive message….EVER! He was followed because he had the position. Despite his poor leadership the core mid-level leaders put the organization on their back and carried the organization to success. His team suffered because of his ego clouded his judgement. He felt we all needed to bow down because he was the tribal elder. News flash: as Zachary Davis stated, people leave their jobs either because the leader or they feel their work is not valued. There are no bad teams only bad leaders. We had more retirements during his tenure…coincidence? 

Blame game: A leader’s ego will drive them to blame the team. The leader will blame the sales team for not meeting the quarterly quotas. The coach will blame the players the team captain will blame the coach. Nobody wins. The leader owns their space, the leader owns their department, and the leader owns the successes and failures of the team. When the leader gets in the blame game instead of owning the stumbles, the leader loses…the team loses. It is the leader’s responsibility to assess the situation and figure out a way (with the help of the team) to give the team the tools, coaching, and actionable guidance to overcome the challenges. The team and the leader will grow in the process.

Leaders put the team first and hold themselves accountable first. The sum is greater than its parts. Every leader will be faced with the situation when his or her team fails. At this critical point, the leader will decide to blame others or stand up and take ownership of the stumble. If the leader takes the responsibility, the team will rally around the leader. The team will grow stronger and have more respect for the leader. Respect equals success. Ownership equals success. Drop the ego!

Leadership is an active sport, get in the game!