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How do I manage my Boss?

This is a question that I have been asked a number of times recently, by friends and family members as well as clients!  It would seem that the way our bosses are managing us is just not cutting it and as a result many of us are feeling under-valued, under-appreciated, put upon and maybe even exploited which in turn is leaving us feeling stressed, frustrated, de-motivated and maybe even angry.  Can you relate to this?Frustration

Question – “What exactly is it that our bosses are doing (or not doing) which is causing this unhealthy state of affairs?”

Answer – “Not listening”.

That is my interpretation of pretty much every “difficult boss” scenario.  That the boss in the equation is not tuning into what their member of staff needs and wants from them.  If they were, they’d stand a much better chance of being the kind of boss their member of staff will respond to.

However, let’s pause for a moment.

What if……the member of staff is not telling their boss what kind of boss they’d like them to be?

Now, there’s a thought!  I wonder what would happen if the friends, family members and clients I referred to earlier, actually told their boss what it is that they need from them?

Ok, so I know life isn’t that simple.  Bosses are not always that receptive to hearing what their failings are and do not always make themselves available to hear that kind of feedback.  However, if we are to break out of this cycle of frustrated members of staff and inadequate bosses, something needs to change.

Recently, I met someone who had attended one of my “Coaching Through Change” sessions at The Coaching Academy last year and she told me that she had had a breakthrough with a particularly difficult situation she had been facing at work.  Without going into the details, she felt as though she had been hitting her head off a brick wall for the best part of 2 years with her boss.  She was frustrated that her boss did not seem to pick up on her need for a different style of leadership.  She was going home frustrated and stressed most nights from the “micro-managing” approach her boss seemed to favour.

Her breakthrough came when she realised that her boss was not a mind reader and perhaps did not realise that his style was having such a negative effect on her.  Up until that point she was telling herself that her boss was “blind”, “an idiot”, “how can he not notice the effect he is having on me?”, “how can he possibly think that his leadership style will get the best out of me”.  Her breakthrough came when she paused and thought, “What if he doesn’t realise the effect his style is having on me?”, and “What if he did know, maybe he might be able to do something different?”.

In that moment, she realised that opening up the lines of communication was going to be key to breaking out of this cycle of frustration that she was causing herself.

“That she was causing herself” is the critical factor here.  It was not her boss who was making her feel frustrated and stressed, she was doing that all on her own!  By manifesting a situation in which she needed something different to happen but wasn’t prepared to do anything to make it happen, she was causing her own stress and frustration.

She told me that her most critical learning point from the whole situation was that she needed to do something different to create a different experience for herself.  The second thing she learned was that is it dangerous to assume that other people (ie our boss) sees the world in the same way that we do and will interpret their actions in the same way as we do.  The reality is, that we all see and world differently and unless we communicate with each other, we will never truly know where the disparities lie.

So, my message to you?  If you find your relationship with your boss is resulting in negative emotions and experiences for you…..take charge and do something different.  A great starting point is to help him or her see your view of the world.

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