Let me guess; that snooze button is getting quite a workout these days. And with each tap, you are given a few moments to delay the inevitable; the journey to work with a knot in your stomach, dread in your heart and escape on your mind.
As you walk the long plank (I mean hallway) to your office, you hear the dull thud of your boss’s voice. By now the words are blissfully unclear – like an adult in a Charlie Brown Special, his words are a muffled drone.
You consider flinging open your window and screaming into the dull mid-day light; “I’m Mad as hell and I’m not going to work for this guy anymore!” But as you know, the windows don’t open – temperature control. You are a lonely astronaut hermetically sealed inside your capsule with what appears to be a stow-away; your boss. And it looks as though you two are stuck hurling through the Universe together.
Below are a just a few of the personalities you may be dealing with and some tips for making your life a whole lot easier.
1. Has No Clue:
This guy has you shaking your head. How on Earth did he get this far? He’s why they coined the phrase “empty suit.” He’s the poster child for getting ahead on looks and charm alone but he just continues to fail upward. And now he’s your boss and you are the brains of the outfit. You are in charge of the puppy – deftly keeping him on course when he is distracted by a squirrel. You do the work and he gets the accolades. You are the keeper of the best kept secret and that leaves you feeling unappreciated.
Here’s the very good news! Everyone knows this guy is an empty suit because most of the people you work with are as smart as you are. What they may not know is how integral you are to his success. Rather than calling him out, start sharing your ideas with trusted colleagues before he co-opts them. Rather than sitting back and allowing him to take the lead in meetings and on conference calls, put your concerns and questions forward. Be respectful but begin to delineate yourself from him in terms of contribution to the larger goal. People who matter in the organization will take note and you will begin to gain the acknowledgement you have earned.
2. Brilliant but Crazy:
This woman is someone you respect. Boy is she smart! She is 12 steps ahead of you and everyone else. Too bad she doesn’t have the self-confidence to match her intellect. In order to maintain her sense of power and pride she will re-think every decision (including yours) and make lots of last minute changes. This can leave you feeling dis-empowered and dis-respected.
Remember that her behavior has nothing to do with you, your contributions or your abilities. Unfortunately, until she solves her confidence issues, she will continue to look for validation by keeping those around her guessing. Once you know and expect her to behave this way you can accept and understand it. You don’t have to like the behavior, but acceptance at any level will bring you great relief!
3. Downright Mean:
He’s a bully. Some people relate to the world as if everyone is out to get them, has an agenda and cannot be trusted. Can you imagine living with this as your reality? We all look at the world through filters and this filter is a humdinger! He may surprise you with snide or sarcastic comments. You may be shocked by what looks like complete insensitivity to you and your colleagues. Much like a middle-schooler who is targeted by the school bully and gets no help from the administration or fellow students – this can leave you feeling hurt and abandoned.
Again, his behavior has zero to do with you. However, if the situation is bad enough, it might be time to look for a new job because it is unlikely the situation will change unless he gets some coaching or alternative intervention. In the meantime, shift your perspective by adopting the attitude that he is merely a middle school bully in a grown man’s body. How would you deal with a 13 year old boy who was exhibiting the same behaviors? Once you can knock him down a peg in your mind, his comments and attitudes will begin to look silly and immature.
Remember that every relationship is a collaboration. If you change the way you are collaborating, your partner in the relationship will have to respond to that change. Small shifts create large change.