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Why Your Boss Is The Key To Your Future

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?

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5 Comments

  1. Of my bosses/clients (The bad ones and the good ones)

    1) In their speaking, I listen for what really matters to them and what they are committed to. That commitment and what really matters to them is always behind what they say but doesn’t always get communicated effectively when they speak. This is especially true if the communication being delivered is triggered by some upset, misunderstanding or
    unfulfilled expectation. This may not necessarily be something I caused.

    2) I “get” what their experience is in the moment. I don’t
    try to change it or fix it. Most people just simply want to be heard and “gotten” in other words, understood. I don’t have to agree with their experience but I can “get” them and that makes a real different in the relationship with clients.

    3) Lastly, when I speak to them, I do so with intent and into their listening. I remember really matters to them and what they are committed to and speak to that.

  2. Great, after you are in the other side, How to help your boss take steps towards changing her leadership style that destroys a healthy work culture?

  3. in the work environment, your value to the boss will always be in the problems you solve. Always look for the thing that is causing your boss concern or pain and try to relive it.

    At the same time there are a few things I have learned about bosses… Some are leaders who inspire you – others are drivers who push you. The most helpful thing I to remember about bosses is that they usually want to do a great job. However, bosses translate that motivation differently.

    The most helpful understanding I have learned is to determine your boss’s primary DiSC Profile:

    D = Dominance … No nonsense – results oriented

    I = Influence … People focused – change oriented

    S = Steadiness … People focused – balance oriented

    C = Cautiousness … Data focused – detail oriented

    Once you know the primary profile … you can learn to tame your boss by speaking hie/her language. D wants results; I wants change; S wants balance; C wants detail (data).

    You can change the baggage your boss may be carrying, but you can help them meet their goals and communicate with them in a meaningful way.

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