We all have started out at some level lower than what we are at today in our jobs. Inevitably the number of bosses that we must have ran through must be more than the number of colors in the rainbow and each one unique in their own right. You would have had the ill fate of having the “control freak” boss who loves to listen to his own voice and is him or herself his biggest fan! Every word uttered from their mouth is the gospel truth and nothing but the truth. Sometimes you might have felt that if they could they would even dictate how much air you should breathe. All because by virtue of him or her being the boss he is always right!
We are all programmed to not like our bosses because the rule of nature is that they are not to be liked. At times, I have felt that I simply cannot work with such a dumb person and that it is an insult to my capabilities to work under such a person. After nurturing this disgust in my heart and literally having to tape my mouth closed to keep from screaming, I would get a new job. Lucky for me that my stars were always in the right place and something would plonk in my lap just at the right time. But you know what, after getting a new boss you realize, hey that one was not so bad after all! Now, after you have disconnected yourself from the situation you try to understand that your boss is after all just trying to do his job the way he thinks is best for him or her.
When you hear the word “boss” do you think of a controlling officer at work? Mr. Controlling Officer likes to make a command and snap his fingers to get his work done in a jiffy. Did you say, “boss I think…..”? The C.E.O. says, “when I want you to think then I will tell you!” Ugh, do not go and pull a patch of your hair out because the boss is not always right but you need to be in the right place at the right time to prove otherwise. Simply go with the flow because you are simply doing what he has told you to do. Make sure that when the fallout happens you have a safety net to save you from hitting the ground. Try to add a one liner to your email communications stating “as desired by you” whenever you are sending updates for the work done as per your bosses instructions.
Bosses are hired to be leaders and to manage people. Their job is not primarily to do the work but to get work implemented and completed by a team of people who are equipped with the knowledge and skill required for finishing a task or assignment. Therefore your boss has been officiated with the position to instruct and guide by the organization which has given him or her, this position. An employee is hired to work as per the norms and policies of the company; therefore you are not working for your boss but for the organization who has made him or her your boss. Remember the day when you signed your acceptance on the appointment letter of this new and exciting job which you were so eagerly waiting to start. Well, you were actually signing on to a decree pledging your loyalty to Your Highness, your Boss. You mere peasant, (in corporate lingo “employee”) are bound to display your loyalties to his majesty. So just do as you are told!
Not really though. To err is to be human, right. It is another thing that the boss is allowed to err a little more than we are but hey, he worked his way up the ladder for this privilege. Wait for your turn already. The boss has not been dropped from the heavens and automatically been given this honor because he/she was after all an executive at some time or the other too. He/she must be highly qualified and suited to be in the position after having years of experience in which he/she has proven his/her capabilities to their own superiors.
You know why your parents chewed up your years to study don’t you? So that you could also be qualified enough to be a BOSS! So your boss would also be well qualified with regards to his/her education. If you have not got your MBA degree yet and day dream about demolishing people’s egos then you better go and grab an application form soon. Higher education will help you achieve all your bigger dreams, take it from your boss. After all he/she is always right, right?
The point of the matter is that just because your gut feeling is telling you that your boss is not right is not reason enough for you to protest against his or her decision. Not every human is unreasonable, only situations make him or her or her that way. You must have the gift of the gab and communicate your ideas in a way which does not show disrespect or revolt towards the person in charge. Just as you would expect your manager to show respect for your opinions and not show outright disregard to your ideas or initiatives, so will your boss. This is called giving “constructive feedback”.
A relationship between your boss and you should be built with a philosophy in which you “agree to disagree” and can still work without wanting to slit each other’s throat. Respect must be gained first in order for respect to be given. Mere talking about your good work and your successes will not take you far. “What you see is what you get” is the policy of many bosses. Do not live in past glory but learn to “walk the talk”. Through you good work display that you are someone who is well informed and also successful at whatever you do. Ensure that your good work does not escape the eyes of your boss as at time one must “blow their own trumpet”. After the person over you sees that you are not just a temporary success, he or she is most definitely going to at least give you an ear for voicing your opinions.
Do not come out with your guns pointing when you are discussing but make it a point that during the conversation always ensure that you are not seen as criticizing the decision. Always start your sentences with positive openers such as “I think you have a good point yet I feel that….”. Phew, the first hurdle is to be given a chance to speak and that you have earned. Now, support your idea or initiative with facts and figures to prove your point. When you have that worked out either one of you will have to concede to a decision which is best suited for the task on hand.
The flip side is that life is not always fair. If your boss is determined to screw you, anticipate it and be prepared to accept it. There is no escape. You are not working because you are so bored out of your wits that you have nothing better to do right? Working is a necessity and not a luxury for most of us mortals clambering on the earth. Recently with the economic roller coaster our economy has been on, jobs are not there for the picking. If you do not like your boss or do not agree with your boss, can you afford to throw caution to the wind and simply say “chuck the job” and walk off. Nah, I do not think so! A parallel can be drawn between your relationship with your boss and your relationship with your spouse. Sometimes just to get the nagging over with don’t you just simply give in and do exactly what your spouse wants you to. Or do you just decide to say “chuck the marriage” and go search for another one. Unless you are a Sheikh from Dubai most likely not! In the same way, at times for your own good and for the peace of those around you simply do as you are told. Just cushion yourself for the freefall if things go wrong because your boss was wrong and savor the pleasure of saying “I told you so”, albeit under your breath.
Each individual’s capacity differs and their priorities also are at different levels. For some people like me, the company and work atmosphere is of utmost importance. Therefore, when I would join any organization, the first thing I would check is if the attitude of the company is geared towards high employee satisfaction. All the successful companies in various sectors nowadays would be since employee attrition has been high due to the change of mindset of the new generation. Wherever a person finds a better opportunity off they go and hop over to the next bandwagon. Most employees do not leave because of the company but the most common reason for change is usually the boss.
If you have been tenacious and chosen the company you work for well then you will find a very interesting and effective tool which all the best employers use. The 360 degree appraisal is an performance appraisal which is conducted by allowing team members or superiors of the managers to give an assessment of the style of functioning of your boss. This way the management gets a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the management’s leadership effectiveness. Your boss will always have this axe hanging over his or her head which will in turn determine his promotions and raises. So do not fret, if you have been wrongly denied an opportunity or have not been given a voice as part of the team, wait for the 360 degree appraisal. Life’s a full circle is it not?
Hold your horses the next time you want to blabber out something which you think is a good idea but know that it is not worth wasting your breath on. Managers who work in an autocratic fashion in today’s changed environment are always noticed sometime or the other. Companies also hire market research groups such as Gallup, ORG-MARG, etc to conduct surveys for assessing employee satisfaction. All employees are given predetermined formats with questions pertaining to their satisfaction in perspective to the company, the management, their manager, and their department. These surveys help separate the rotten apples from the good ones. If your boss is a rotten apple then he or she will be treated just like one by the company too. Moral of the story, choose your employer well if you are not the kind of person to be an ego massager to your boss.
Happy days are here again, well not just yet but almost there. The good news is that times are changing and with that so are work ethos. The workplace is now changing with attitudes of the management transcending the boundaries between superiors and subordinates. There does not have to be just one solution for every problem. Mr. Controlling Officer can be right but at the same time you can also be right. There could be alternate ways of doing things with the same or equivalent result.
Simple rule to remember: When you do something good your boss will never remember but when you do something wrong he will never forget, when you make a mistake, you are worthless, when your boss makes a mistake, he is only human. Burn the midnight oil and work your self-silly to become a boss. You will start to truly believe “the boss is always right”.