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Jan 30

Is your boss trying to kill you?

5 Ways Your Boss is Trying to Kill You

There are five signs your boss doesn’t have your best interest in mind and if you keep working for them it’ll certainly shorten your lifespan.

1) Steals your ideas

Superiors that don’t give credit to the people who work with them kills them a little each time it happens.

“When the boss steals your glory, it’s stressful and a disincentive for you to put forth any extra effort,”

It can start innocently enough. Your boss can tell you that an idea will carry more weight coming from them or that they are going to “socialize” it with their superiors. But when you hear them speaking about the idea, it is as if you don’t exist.

What can you do?

Offer to present the idea together. Thank them for the offer of presenting it, but you want to step out there as a learning opportunity. Speak about it at a team meeting so that your colleagues hear and offer their thoughts as well.

If the boss persists in presenting it without you, make sure you document your idea to them in an email. Then make sure you are preparing to make your next move within the organization or to a new organization because it is a sign of things to come.

2) Never gives positive feedback

I worked for a boss that had a sign on her desk that read – “If I’m not talking to you, then you’re doing fine”. She would tell us that “we are adults and don’t require a pat on the back for every little thing”. I agree. However, feedback is a completely different animal. It is a primary way that someone can know how he or she is doing in his or her roles.

Positive feedback is also one of the most effective ways to change behavior. There is a great deal of research that proves the potency of positive feedback

The Corporate Leadership Council did a study in 2002 that is an example of this. They survey 19,000 employees from 34 companies, in 7 industry groups in 20 countries and asked them what impact certain actions had on their performance. They were some surprising results:

They were some surprising results:

Fair and accurate informal positive feedback increased performance by 39%
Formal reviews with an emphasis on strength increased performance by 37%
Formal reviews with an emphasis on weakness decreased performance by 27%
Regular informal feedback with an emphasis on weakness decreased performance by 11%
Giving feedback about what someone does well makes them do that more. It changes behavior more quickly and is contagious. Bosses that don’t give positive feedback are setting people up for failure.

What can you do?

If your boss isn’t telling you what you are doing well, there are two methods you can follow:

You should ask them. Make sure to find out specifically what he or she thinks your strengths are. If your boss can’t think of anything or uses that question as a reason to point out what you are not doing well, that is a bad sign. Thank them for their time and find someone else that will objectively tell you your strengths.
Praise your boss and teammates for what they do well. Take it upon yourself to point out what they do well and the impact it has on the team. It’s possible that your teammates will begin to follow your lead.
If your boss only tells you what you are doing well as a vehicle to tell you what you are doing wrong, run.

3) Doesn’t give corrective feedback until it’s too late

The flip side of never-giving-positive-feedback is not dealing with performance issues until they become a real problem. If your boss can’t tell you very shortly after an incident how to correct your behavior, that is a horrible sign. No one is perfect and your boss should be able to tell you when you’ve done something wrong.

That is a real opportunity to learn if they tell you what happened, its impact, and they work with you to correct it. However, if you hear about something that you did wrong during a quarterly or annual review, that is not good.

What can you do?

If your boss has a history of telling you what you are doing wrong only during a review process then you have to take matters into your own hands. Ask them at least weekly about your performance. Review the projects you are working on, meetings you ran or attended, etc. Don’t let them get away with not giving you the real scoop about your performance.

Grill them until they tell you. Once you find out what they thought didn’t go well, ask them:

What can I do to make sure to correct this for next time?
How can I prepare for this better?

4) Work doesn’t connect to anything, it feels meaningless

Just like Sisyphus rolling the rock up the hill, work can seem just as pointless. But that is dangerous to your longevity at the organization, to the well-being of the customer and your health.

Leaders in organizations must be able to connect what the people on their teams do to the overall purpose of the organization and how it connects to gaining and retain customers. That is called the Line of Sight.

Bad bosses tell employees to accomplish tasks because “that is their job” or worse yet “because I told you to.” This is a recipe for disaster.

What can you do?

There are really only two courses of action:

1) Ask your boss how the task, project or initiative you are tasked to do helps to

Gain/retain customers
Meet the department goals
Help the organization become successful

2) If they can’t or won’t give you the answer, do some detective work on your own and find out.

Don’t let your superior get away with not giving you context for what you are doing. If they get upset because you want to know, that is a good sign for you to find a new boss.

5) There is little or no opportunity for development

The only real competitive advantage that any company has its people. Therefore, developing your skills is not only good for your career but also better for the organization’s bottom line. The truth is your career and its development is your responsibility.

You are the only one that can really do the work it takes to prepare yourself for advancement. However, your boss can make the opportunity to develop available. Any boss worth their salt will want to talk to you about your growth, your goals, what you want to do with you life, etc.

This way they can give you assignments to get you closer to that or use that information to give you work that you are excited about doing.

You are the only one that can really do the work it takes to prepare yourself for advancement. However, your boss can make the opportunity to develop available. Any boss worth their salt will want to talk to you about your growth, your goals, what you want to do with you life, etc. This way they can give you assignments to get you closer to that or use that information to give you work that you are excited about doing.

This way they can give you assignments to get you closer to that or use that information to give you work that you are excited about doing.

If your boss isn’t making time to have these kinds of conversations you are either working in a fast food restaurant or they don’t care about your future.

What can you do?

If your boss doesn’t talk to you about development opportunities, you should be bringing it up. Let them know you want to “leverage their experience” or “pick their brain” to speak with them about your career goals. Once that conversation is scheduled, really prepare for it. Use it as an opportunity to get the opportunity to develop and grow.

Leadership Reality

Honestly, your boss is not really trying to kill you – but, they may not really care about you, which could be just as bad.

Watch for these signs of having a bad boss. Take action to get what you need from them or make plans to leave. If you do nothing, it could just kill you.
Thanks to Linked2Leadership and Tom Schulte

3 Comments

  1. clientservices@peakperformancesalestraining.us
    15th April 2017 at 12:58 am · Reply

    It is refreshing to see when an article is written by someone who has a complete grasp of the subject matter, Thank You!

  2. sgarrett@peakperformancesalestraining.us
    15th April 2017 at 7:03 am · Reply

    The Sales Training business is loaded with one liners and cliches. It is good to see someone who has a real grasp of the subject matter. Thank You

  3. jbenner@peakperformancesalestraining.us
    7th May 2017 at 2:20 am · Reply

    Being in the Sales Training Business it is good to see an article written by someone who has a real grasp of the subject matter!

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