So you are working your way up the corporate ladder. You realize that your boss – a relatively new member of the “old boys club” – isn’t pulling his weight? What do you do? What can you do about it? How can you get him to pull up his socks?
However, truthfully, there may be nothing that you can do unless you already have an influence with your boss. Given the predicament, to move forward, accept this potentially real limitation as a fact. Then consider a leadership perspective. Ask yourself, not how can I get my boss to change? Instead, ask yourself, how can I handle myself in this situation, to show off my best attributes?
Tip # 1 – Do not complain or attempt to manipulate the situation. Take this as an opportunity to demonstrate how you best handle yourself in a challenging case. Other people are watching.
To show off your best attributes, you need to know what they are, and the answer is not technical ability. The strengths that compare, in this situation, are interpersonal in nature—leadership skills.
If these were simple characteristics or behaviors to implement, you’d already been doing so. They are often shrouded in narrowly focused overconfidence. Either consult with your Psychologist of choice or find a seasoned business coach that will work with you during this critical moment of truth. Hint: your process may begin with “leading by example.”
Tip # 2 – At the core of all great leadership skills, lies safe, healthy functioning relationships. Have them and thrive. Die without them.
Alliances – usually the type that has depth and meaning – provide a platform for all long-lasting success stories. Infuse strong leadership skills into your relationships. Hint: empathy can go along way in developing these types of alliances.
Share your healthy vision for the future, one that benefits all those concerned, not just the fortunate few at the top. Your efforts often impel a desire to be supportive and helpful from those around you, once you have shared a vision for the greater good. Your boss may just pick up on the vibe that they, too, better make some changes of their own.
Tip # 3 – Once you have cultivated strong affiliations, your communication needs to be focused and purposeful. Utilize impeccable timing, strategic direction (I recommend having a leadership campaign for yourself), and an intention to improve authentic business relationships.
Taking things just a step further, you can and should create your personal agenda. Focus on targeting certain people to get to know better or influence. Don’t be superficial in your attempts to capitalize on any opportunities. Demonstrate your allegiance to your underlying values for yourself and others.
Chiefly, my point regarding this dilemma concerns your effort. You will likely be more efficient & more influential because you have taken the time to nurture and cultivate mutually respectful relationships with others, including your boss. Communication is foundational in relationships. Leadership is not about controlling others, using force or manipulation to make them bend to your will. It is an opportunity to breathe life into the type of person you want to become. Cultivate and nurture your character, your relationships, then merely observe and appreciate the power that others start to bequeath to you.
Tip # 4 – “Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow” was clearly a seminal book, written by Marsha Sinetar back in 1989. More recently, Stanford professor and author of “The Highest Goal” Michael Ray was reported to say “Do what you love, love what you do.” Good advice but not so easily implemented.
I am a definite advocate of aligning our daily decisions with our values, spending more time developing our passions, and “following our bliss” (thank you very much Joseph Campbell) but a word of caution. With high standards also comes risk. If you set them too high, it could be easy to find yourself alienated or unemployed. Nonetheless, I think we should strive and struggle with this end in mind and get our decision-making process as closely aligned with our highest values as we can.
Tip # 5 – Although it can be nerve-racking to not go for more money and better perks, this may just be the best advice I can share. Sure, saying yes to a promotion usually equates to more money, power, prestige, and swag in the short run, but also very often means to forgo flexibility, autonomy, creativity, and personal satisfaction. Align your decision with your most cherished values.
There are critical components to our success that lie just below the surface of our awareness that probably shouldn’t be overlooked if we are concerned about our careers and our emotional intelligence (EQ). EQ is the goo that makes life glide. Who said that our careers couldn’t be a luxurious experience?
Tip # 6 – Skill up when you feel your job security is being threatened. The current pandemic has so many people out of work, it only makes sense to do whatever we can to hang on to what we’ve got. Making yourself indispensable is more valuable today than it was even a decade ago. With so many cuts still coming, be strategic, leadership coaching may just bolster your soft skills so you can feel a little more secure in your position.