“When you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails.” – H. Jackson Brown, Contemporary American Writer and Author
There’s nothing worse than being subordinate to someone you find challenging to respect. Professionally, that’s putting it lightly!
I hear it all the time.
“They Just Don’t Get it!”
My boss is….SAY IT (email me right now and get it off your chest)
One of the biggest stressors for Top Performers is incompetent leadership. When you’re asked to follow instructions that jeopardize your ethics, or clean up after your boss’s messes, it puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on you. Ditto when your boss is lazy about pulling her weight, doesn’t keep his skills up to date, or asks you to go above and beyond just so that she can look good to her superiors.
If you feel weighed down by an incompetent boss, the key is to look for the positive in the situation. Instead of blaming your boss for being lazy, immoral, inattentive, etc., see if you can step up to the leadership challenge.
Write down your frustrations, and discuss them with your boss. Don’t presume to know all the reasons why she does the things she does. Instead, discuss how she can help you do your job more easily, and how you can help her in turn. Creating a partnership out of an adversarial relationship can go a long way toward reducing stress and ill feeling.
If your boss demands or policies are unethical, however, you may need to step things up a notch, and put your foot down. You should never, never, ever do anything that goes against your personal and professional ethics, even if your boss tells you to because chances are it will catch up with you later, and end up causing a hundred times the stress you thought you were avoiding by keeping your mouth shut.
One thing I don’t recommend for dealing with incompetent company leadership is going over your bosss head (unless you’re dealing with unethical or illegal behavior, in which case, it’s your decision who to report it to). Instead, take a coaching approach: talk to your boss as an equal, and see if you can come to an arrangement that both of you can live with. If that’s not possible, ask for a superior or neutral party to mediate.
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