The Boss Is NOT Your Enemy
Bad bosses are legendary figures across time and cultures. There’s a good reason for that, because there are so many bosses out there who are so terrible at what they do.
Despite all of the stories, a good majority of them are anywhere from “just fine” to “outstanding.” Unfortunately, many people interact with both the good and the bad bosses as if they are the enemy. If you are in these ranks, you make the assumption the boss is no good, out to get you with nothing but bad intentions.
Stop thinking this way.
The problem with that thinking is that even the bad bosses are rarely “out to get” anyone. However, when bosses are faced with employees who interact with them from that viewpoint, it shows. You might think you are hiding your contempt and distrust, but it’s glaringly obvious.
Being on the receiving end of this kind of attitude does nothing to build a relationship and everything to destroy it. In fact, in a New York minute.
The boss is really not your enemy and is not out to get you. They do have a job of balancing business priorities with your needs. Those two things don’t always fit together, and since it is a business, the priorities of the business will win the day.
I know it’s personal to you and therefore it’s easy to react to decisions that impact you. On the other hand, if you already think you’re going to get screwed, any impacting decision is going to feel like proof positive that you were right. Only, more than likely, you aren’t.
If this is sounding more and more like you, consider these suggestions:
Change Your Assumptions
What if they really weren’t out to get you? What if they couldn’t avoid the impacting decisions? You don’t know all of the inner workings above you and you never will. Some things are unavoidable.
You’re Probably More Self-Centered Than You Realize
People that have these attitudes like to think that the boss sits around and thinks up ways to get you. In fact, you’d be stunned at how very little time is given to just any one individual – even you.
What If the Boss Was Really an “OK” Person?
If You Do Have Concerns, Ask
The biggest problem most people have is not seeking ongoing feedback and then letting things fester until they really are problems. You should constantly be asking how you are doing and whether the boss would like to see you do anything differently. This can open up some meaningful dialogue.
Figure Out What’s Import to the Business and the Boss
You would think both of those things are the same, but not always. Obviously, the business needs to be profitable and make money. What are you doing to contribute to the bottom line? The boss also has their priorities, which usually have a relationship to the business’s priorities but are usually somewhat different. Your job should be to find out what those are and do everything you can to contribute. When you have their back, they’ll love you — and your opinion about them will also be positive.
Think Like a Contractor
All jobs are temporary. That’s just a fact of life. If you think like a contractor, you will be adding value daily to the bottom line. Also, should you part company: all contractors know that is how business works and when they leave, they leave with the idea of returning. Repeat business (or returning to an old job or boss) happens all the time, assuming you leave with style and grace. Having the last word or becoming as fun as hugging a porcupine will not put you at the top of the rehire list. In fact, don’t expect referrals in that case, because referring someone who is a pain in the backside is the last thing anyone would ever want to do.
No, there is no upside in thinking the boss is your enemy. It shows in your behavior as much as you think it probably doesn’t. Hostility, belligerence and disrespect will show up in numerous ways. If you get stuck in this mindset, you’ll create your own reality because no one, even a good boss, will ever like someone who treats them like that.
Have you ever had a boss who you thought was out to get you? Share your coping techniques in the comments!