Did you say “bad boss”? Several recent surveys show that a shockingly high percentage of bosses are not living up to expectations. This does not mean that they are actually bad but we are all aware of the power of perceptions:
• Being given the choice between a salary increase and another boss, 65% of the respondents chose another boss.
• To the question “what is the most stressful aspect of your job?” 75% responded: “my boss”.
Not everything is rosy for the bosses either: 40% of recipients of promotions leave the organisation within 18 months. To complicate matters further, most bosses are sandwiched between their own boss and their bossees.
Evidence shows that this sorry situation is universal. It is not linked to any country, culture, industry or sector. It equally applies to women and men. It occurs in sports as well as in business. The reasons have been extensively documented.
• Lack of awareness of the challenges of a transition. Most people start their career as specialists in a given field. Usually, they do a good job and get promoted. Suddenly, they are supposed to know everything and, more often than not, nobody tells them that they are now to think, act and behave in a different manner. For the ones who survive this step, the next challenges are to become executives (boss of bosses) and later directors.
• Promotees carry on doing their old job. This is a double loss: the boss fails to lead and prevents the team from doing their job. A variation of that is bosses who believe they are doing their new job but actually retain the mindset of their previous job. Lethal.
• Failure to behave like a boss. In her delicious little book Lois Frankel says that nice girls do not get the corner office but that nice WOMEN do!
• Human beings do not come with their own operating manual. A deep understanding on how one wants to be managed and how to lead others is essential.
• Bosses who realise that they are lacking, feel threaten and typically become aggressive; a sure recipe for a bad boss.
The consequences of perceived inadequate bosses and the misery they generate are also well documented. And so are the huge benefits of great bosses.
Furthermore, whether the boss is good or not so good is not the sole responsibility of the boss but that of the whole team and of the organisation. It is a good idea to learn how to manage your boss rather than just complain about the situation.
Finally, there are cases where people are just in the wrong position. It may then be necessary to disengage elegantly.
Great bosses are teachers and coaching is probably the most efficient way to raise the quality of bosses. Talk to us; we will help you attain a key partnership with your boss to achieve a common purpose. As a bonus, your wellbeing will be vastly enhanced.
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