The Risky Business of Dealing with an Indecisive Boss
A common complaint about bad bosses is they won’t make decisions.
An indecisive boss seems cowardly, lazy, short-sighted, or self-serving.
It’s risky to take action when you have an indecisive boss.
Real leaders take calculated risks.
3 steps to success with an indecisive boss:
#1. Don’t try to make them more decisive. People don’t like it when you try to change them, especially if they’re the boss.
#2. See value in their “weakness”. You don’t like it, but a reluctance to rock the boat has served them well. They’re the boss, aren’t they?
The attribute you’d like to change about your boss may have served them well in the past.
Don’t poke a politically sensitive boss in the eye and expect to win influence.
Forget about changing your boss. Every sentence that begins with, “I wish my boss would … .” is a complete waste of breath. Your frustration over an indecisive boss wastes your power, creativity, and energy.
#3. Answer the reasons your boss is indecisive. Transform, “I wish my boss would … .”, to, “I need to … .”
5 types of indecisive bosses:
- Lazy boss: This boss loves comfort and ease. It doesn’t take long to learn that decisions are followed by WORK. Do the work for them.
- Stability loving boss: The power of stability is predictable results. Predictability feels safe. Change creates stress. If it’s working, don’t touch it. Run a pilot project. Take low profile action. Review results.
- Politically sensitive boss: This boss always has his finger in the air testing the wind. Invite input from power people before asking for decisions. Play politics ethically. Be transparent with your plans. Don’t go behind her back.
- Control freak. Give them frequent reports and credit.
- Fearful boss. Explore and answer their fears.
You’re just like an indecisive boss if you won’t risk taking action.
What suggestions do you have for dealing with an indecisive boss?
I realize that these suggestions are imperfect. Stop looking for a magic solution. You’re smart. Go figure out the next imperfect step forward.