Dear Dan: My Boss Feels Like a Limiter
I’m wondering how to push through when I have a challenging leader?
My boss gives me space to do what I need to do, but is very unpredictable in approach, response, and feels like a limiter to me being able to lead my own group.
Anyways…you are always a wealth of resource & help so just wanted to reach out.
Your email reminds me that lousy bosses make performance difficult and satisfaction unlikely. (Atlantic)
Here are a few points of reflection. I warn you that I’m focusing on you more than your bad boss.
#1. Build the strongest possible relationship with your boss.
Influence begins with relationship.
On a scale of 1:10, how strong is your relationship with your boss? What might you do to take that relationship up a notch?
One a scale of 1:10, how confident is your boss that you have their best interest at heart?
How have you communicated your commitment to seek your boss’s best interest in the last week?
#2. Commit to character development.
How might you re-frame this situation as a learning experience?
- How might learning to navigate a lousy boss make you a better person and leader?
- What positive qualities is this situation calling you to exhibit or develop?
- How does learning-through this experience expand your potential?
- How might you include your boss in your character/skill development?
I hope this is the last frustrating boss you ever have, but chances are, there are a few more in your future.
#3. Notice when your bad boss is bringing out your worst.
It doesn’t help you, your team, or your future to let a negative boss turn you into a negative person.
#4. Look in the mirror.
How might you have some of the same frustrating qualities your boss has?
Sometimes our frustration with others is frustration with our self.
#5. Speak up in the moment.
If you give your boss constructive feedback, do it in the moment. Delayed feedback is like spanking a dog the day after they made a mess.
Tell your boss the impact of their actions.
“It seems like yesterday you said, ‘xyz’. Today it seems like ‘abc’. What am I missing?” (I wouldn’t say this unless #1 is fully in the bag.)
I realize I’m dumping the load on you and I know it can be a heavy load.
I wish you well,
What suggestions do you have for Feeling Limited?
The Art of Coping (Positive Psychology)
How to Handle a Bad Boss (Forbes)
How to Deal with a Bad Boss (NBC)