At some point or another, everyone has boss problems. I’ve worked for bosses who were the owner’s son or daughter, and were completely incompetent. There are fine leaders out there who are second generation, but in my career, I’ve worked for some real losers. I’ve had other bosses that were insecure, others who were egomaniacs, and still others who wanted to be somewhere else. As a result, sooner or later, most employees dream of owning their own business and becoming their own boss. But there’s a problem with that dream – unless you are independently wealthy, everyone has a boss.
When I left full time employment and became a freelancer, I suddenly had multiple bosses – my clients. When I started Cooke Media Group, in theory I was the boss, but once again, our clients are my bosses. Try as you might, as long as you’re working full-time, part time, freelance, or self-employed, you’ll always have a boss. Which leaves only one option:
Figure out what makes your boss tick. That’s the only way to thrive working for someone else. To make that happen, here’s a few tips:
1. When it comes to your boss, much of his or her behavior comes from past experience, previous bosses, or family issues. Pastor Jack Hayford once told me, “No one knows the scars other people are carrying.” So figure it out. Discover their past. You might even learn to sympathize with them. At the very least you’ll begin to understand what makes them tick, and what drives their decisions and motivations.
2. Speak their language. If you’re a communications person working for a pastor, stop speaking communications, and start speaking the language of ministry. He doesn’t care about lumens, megapixels, or audio levels. He cares about reaching lost people. Other situations are the same. Your boss may be a numbers person, idea person, or come from an academic background. Whatever the background or expertise, start communicating from that perspective and he or she will start listening.
3. Solve your bosses problems. Early in my career I had a tyrannical boss who screamed at everyone. One day we really had it out, and during our argument (I forget what it was even about) he let out a secret. His brother in law owned the company and gave him the job. My boss had no experience in the position and felt inadequate and insecure. I seized on that moment and told him that anytime he needed answers about our business, just give me a call and I’d tell him what he needed to know. I offered to do it in secret and without credit. From that moment on, our relationship completely changed. I made him look good to the people above him, and he left me alone to do my job.
Stop being frustrated by your boss and start figuring him or her out. Who you think is a incompetent egomaniac, might just be someone who’s been hurt in the past, and is struggling to connect with co-workers. Discover what drives your boss, and you just may open the door to a much better future.
Have you ever had an experience where discovered how to change your relationship with the boss?