I have been abundantly blessed with the success I have enjoyed during my 31-year corporate career and now as an independent consultant. Looking back, I can clearly see that much of my personal growth as a leader came about while I grappled with the challenges of the turnaround situations I was deployed to. There were at least 7 of those that I can recall, and they all served a purpose in some form of fashion. Although it was painful at the time, I can’t help but credit the most rapid and powerful growth spurts in my career to behaviors I saw from bad bosses that I was clear I should never emulate.
After publishing my blog post titled “The 13 Destructive Behaviors of Toxic Bosses” a couple of weeks ago, I received several inquiries about how one might go about surviving these bosses, which prompted me to publish this post. I hope that the suggestions here will be useful and beneficial to the unfortunately large number of people out there who are working for bosses who have no clue how to be leaders. Most workplaces put a great deal of emphasis on hiring the best talent out there and bringing in extraordinary people, only to make them feel less than ordinary by relegating them to toil under an unqualified, toxic boss. Great organizations ensure that their leadership team is enlightened because they know that great leaders can take even seemingly “ordinary” people and bring out the extraordinary in them.
If you have been following my work for any significant amount of time, you know that I am not one to dwell on the negative behavior of others. My focus is on introspection and building resilience and developing transformative insight in the face of adversity. I believe in taking responsibility for not only my own actions, but also for my responses to other people’s actions. As a leader, no matter where you are on the organizational chart, you always benefit from declaring yourself “The One” and being pro-active rather than reacting to other circumstances or people. This is especially true for those of us who have to deal with toxic bosses.
Many of us secretly wish we had more authority or fantasize about how we would handle things if one day we were the boss. Some of us tell ourselves that, if only we were in charge, things would be different, while others have resigned themselves to being victims of circumstances that we believe we have no power to change. .For those of you who are in either place, the good news is that you don’t have to be the boss to start a transformation at your workplace. You may not have ultimate power and authority to make all the decisions, and your progress may be hindered by some of the policies and practices over which you don’t have direct influence, but if you are truly committed to transforming the experience of your workplace, there is a lot you can do to make it happen no matter where you are on the organizational chart. This episode is intended to encourage you to take on leading a culture transformation exactly where you are right now and give you some ideas on how you might make that happen.
Bosses come in all forms and types. While the most basic definition of a boss is “the person in charge,” not all bosses are created equal, if you will. By far, the most common type of boss is the standard, inoffensive “just doing my job” boss. They faithfully …