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Nobody's perfect.

Bosses aren't perfect and no amount of wishing will make them perfect. But you have a number of options.

One frequently used option is to complain. Complainers try to understand the boss's actions by talking those problems through with others. Complaining has many consequences and gets few results. It does not promote change because it is done behind the boss's back.

The situation won't improve unless the boss is informed of the problem. The only relief you get from complaining is the brief chance to vent your frustrations.

Another option is to get out. If you believe the boss will never change, you may want to transfer or quit. The consequences of this option, however, are quite clear. You may not be able to get another job right away; you may not get a better job; or you may get a boss who is even more frustrating.

Yet another option is to get rid of the boss. If you sincerely believe the boss will never change, you dislike him or her enough, and you think he or she deserves the worst, you could campaign to have him or her terminated.

If you are successful, however, you may not get a better boss, and you will probably be left with a bad reputation. If you are not successful, you are likely to suffer and may even lose your job.

If you believe that the boss will eventually see the light, wait it out. It may take a few weeks, a few months, or even years. This could be a good strategy because time heals all wounds. If the problem is not resolved in a reasonable amount of time, chose another option.

If you believe the boss cannot or will not change, you may opt to just live with the situation. By choosing this option, however, you give up trying to improve your situation.

You can always opt to change yourself to improve a bad situation. Depending on what you are trying to change, this can be a good solution. In other circumstances though, you may not care to make an effort.

The final option is one many of us fail to consider. We may have the power to change the boss or at least modify his or her behavior. People can change. With a little help, perhaps your boss will.

With this option you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Develop an approach to change your boss. First, prepare to meet with him or her. Determine exactly what is bothering you. Decide what you want your boss to do differently. List ways your boss would benefit by changing.

Next, set up a meeting with your boss. Decide whether or not to tell him or her in advance what you want to talk about. For some, knowing will help them prepare; for others, knowing will allow them to build a defense.

During the meeting, objectively describe the situation. Avoid accusations. Point out your boss's positive behavior, but also indicate your concerns about the particular behavior you are troubled about.

Agree on how the boss will change. The boss should make his or her suggestion for change first, then add your own. Be sure it's something the boss can and is willing to do. Give the boss positive reinforcement for listening and for being willing to change. Summarize how the boss will change, what you will do, and how the boss will benefit.

After using this approach to change your boss, observe the boss's behavior, looking specifically for the agreed upon changes. If the boss has changed, give positive reinforcement. If the boss has not changed, point it out and discuss it.

If your attempt to change your boss doesn't work, try another option as outlined earlier. If the chances of changing your boss on a certain behavior are too slim to try, go to another option.

Pick the right behavior to change, use the approach described here, and go for it. It may be as simple as making your boss aware of the need to change or helping him or her see something more clearly.

This is a basic approach you can use anytime. If you're trying to change something that is changeable, this approach will help you succeed. You have a lot to gain if it works and nothing to lose if doesn't.

Jay T. Knippen is an associate professor in the College of Business Administration at the University of South Florida in Tampa; Thad B. Green is a business author and consultant; and Kurt Sutton is president of Kurt Sutton & Associates.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:boss management
Author:Knippen, Jay T.; Green, Thad B.; Sutton, Kurt
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Column
Date:Jul 1, 1992
Words:763
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