Ever had a “bad boss? What is a bad boss anyway? Is he or she being difficult on purpose? Or are they just not meeting your specific needs at work? Do you think they are aware of it? A recent Harvard Business Review article revealed that their five-year research program on self-awareness found that although 95% of people think they are self-aware, only 10-15% actually are.
I was a bad boss at least once in my career. My associate told me. She invited me out for coffee, and calmly and matter-of-factly told me so. Did she use the term bad boss? Fortunately, not. But she let me know that she would perform much better if I would slow down, take the time to build a relationship, let her know what I expected and understand how she was doing – pretty basic stuff. But it stopped me in my tracks – and I have never forgotten it. At that point in my career, I know I was pretty intense, very project focused and mostly all about business. But after that conversation, I thought about my bad habits not only in my relationship with this person, but as a leader overall.
We all know the workplace is comprised of many different personalities, many different expectations, many different work styles. But in the end, those one-on-one, day-to-day interactions with your boss and teammates are critical aspects of job satisfaction.
So, if you have a “bad boss” maybe it’s time for both of you to gain clarity around you at your most productive – the best “you,” when you feel the boss understands you, and well, “sees” you as a person in addition to a productive member of the team. What do you need from your boss that you are not getting? Get personal clarity around those few things and then have the crucial conversation.
What will give that conversation the best chance of working? Be clear and factual. Cite a specific scenario or approach and how it makes you feel. “When you do this, it makes me feel like this.” Suggest what works better for you and explain why. Ask them how they see it. Find the mutual purpose – both you and the boss want your best performance and for the team to operate at the highest level possible. Be authentic, open to feedback and honest dialogue.
Sometimes that bad boss can be a better boss – it’s all about clarity and communication. And, the new level of communication may have to start with you. You never know – it might make all the difference in your current job…as well as impact your career path go forward.
It may be your boss or other attributes of your current job are making it less than ideal. Crosworks can help you gain clarity and create a plan for making your current job better or start you on the path to a new one. Debbie Mitchell is a Leadership & Career Strategist at Crosworks. To learn more, Debbie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.