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The Champion Forum Podcast

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Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Have you ever had a bad boss? If you have not, the odds are that you will have one at some point, and the way that you respond can make or break your career. In this week's episode, I'll give you my best strategies for working with a boss you do not get along with and show you how to protect your integrity through the process.

Know their preferences: Adapt to them

Observe your boss's behavioral style, preferences, and pet peeves. Are they fast-paced and quick to make decisions? Are they slow to think about things, needing time to process information? How do they like to communicate? (ie. E-mail, in-person drop-ins, or lengthy texts). The more you can match your style to your boss's style when speaking with them, the more they will hear what you're saying.

Q: Why do you think you need to adapt to your boss's preference instead of the other way around? Have you ever worked with a boss who communicated best in one specific way? What challenges did that create? How did you overcome them?

Identify your bosses' prime motivations.

When you know what drives your boss, you can speak to what his ears will hear and use language in ways that line up with his core values and priorities.

Q: What is your primary goal as a team or organization? What role do you play in accomplishing that goal? Is that different from your boss's goal? Why or why not?

Support their success

While supporting a bad boss in becoming more successful may sound counterintuitive, you will gain nothing by making them look bad. You can never lose by helping others do better in the long run. We should always be asking ourselves how we can help our boss win regardless of our relationship with them. Supporting your boss is good for the company and your integrity and image.

Speak up!

When all else fails, you need to speak up before you decide to part ways and allow your boss the opportunity to respond. Don't assume they can't take feedback or don't care how miserable you are. An honest, respectful conversation can open the door to new levels of trust. If you decide to leave, you will know that you have tried everything.

Take the high road

Your boss's bad behavior is not an excuse for your own. Keep your mind focused on performing your best. If you have to complain, don't do it at work. Keeping a positive attitude and operating with integrity will ultimately say more about you than it does about your boss. Never compromise your character!

Q: What are some ways to identify a person of character in the workplace? Describe a time when you had to take the high road. How did it feel? What were the results?

Application Activities

1. Get comfortable having challenging conversations with people in leadership above you. Even if you don't have a bad boss, this skill will help you increase trust and collaboration in your relationship. The next time you want to challenge something your boss is doing, try using these steps.

  1. Choose the right time and place.

  2. Ask good questions to gain understanding.

  3. Be positive and direct about what you are thinking.

  4. Focus on the results and how they will benefit the company

  5. Respect the final decision.

Going through these steps will help you stay respectful while being clear about the potential problems you see. Start using this strategy with your spouse, partner, or co-worker to get comfortable with the process. Try to find an opportunity to practice this kind of conversation by the end of the week.

2. Spend some time understanding the motivation of your leader. Answer the questions below. Then, consider your motivations. Where is there common ground? How can your values support your boss's values?

  1. What keeps him up at night?

  2. What does he care about?

  3. What would he love more of, and what would he love less of on a daily basis?

  4. What concerns him?

  5. How much importance does he place on impressing others?

  6. How does he measure success, and what does he think about failure?

3. How are you helping your employees work well with you? Consider your own preferences and motivations. Consider what your team can expect of you based on those preferences and evaluate whether or not you have clearly communicated those expectations to your team. If you need help establishing or re-establishing expectations on your team, check out our free resource HERE.


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