When you joined your current employer, you were bent on making a difference. You have already done your research, identified the problem areas and you are now burning with new ideas and solutions. After some time, you begin to realize that your boss is forgetful, cannot seem to make decisions on time, is slow to implement strategies agreed upon and has a way of delegating absolutely everything to the team. Projects stall, the team is demotivated and you feel like pulling out your hair most of the time.
Finally, it slowly dawns on you that you are more experienced and smarter than your boss. It is completely natural to be elated and get a kick from this. However, you need to take a step back and realize that this is one of the trickiest situations in the workplace. If you handle this carelessly, you might find yourself in a heap of trouble.
ACKNOWLEDGE EXISTING LEADERSHIP
It is very important to keep in mind that despite your awesome capabilities and talent, your boss is still your boss and they hold the future of your existence in that company in their hands. This means that they deserve your respect. You might be more analytical, better with numbers and deliver all assignments given to you on time, but you also have weaknesses that you might not even notice and that you probably do not like analyzing. Leadership is about cohesion of a team by harnessing strengths of different individuals to meet targets and minimize team weaknesses.
IT’S ALL ABOUT ATTITUDE
Unless you are handling a bad boss, you should understand that the shortfalls you encounter in your daily duties can be used to your own advantage and development. You can decide to be more of an asset to your boss, rather than just a junior they supervise. Stand in when crises arise and your boss is not around instead of alerting the higher management of the problem. This will help you develop decision making and prioritization skills on the go, and avert a situation where you make your boss look bad.
You should also make sure to work to make your boss feel assisted and not threatened. You will sooner realize that if your boss considers you an asset in their department, they will automatically allow you to take on projects and new responsibilities because you continually prove your dedication and commitment to excel.
COMPENSATE FOR YOUR BOSS’S WEAKNESSES
Understand your boss’s weaknesses and improvise ways of going around them. At the end of the day, if targets within the department are met, it means that your own personal targets will be met and your appraisal process will turn out positive. Helping your team complete projects successfully makes your strengths shine and your boss look good. They may not admit it to you, but they will understand your contribution allow you take on more responsibility within the department.
You will soon find that perfect moment to ask your boss for a little credit on the successful projects, like presenting a small piece of a project, briefly elaborating a topic of your expertise during a management meeting, etc. Such moves will help expose you more and build your professional resume even in the eyes of the management.
RESIST NEGATIVE PROFILING
Even where you are left wondering how your boss cannot comprehend something you consider a simple concept, keep your befuddlement to yourself. Do not go gossiping how incompetent your boss is and how you would do so much better if you were in the place. There are certain things you must never say at work, mostly because you never know who is listening and also because this is never part of the solution. Speak positively about your boss and about your team. Seek to find solutions for challenges within your department and present them to your boss.
Whenever addressing your boss with a suggestion for a solution, be careful about your approach and the kind of words you use. Your language should portray “I have an idea I think might work to solve challenge x” and not “Here is a solution to the problem x that you were unable to resolve”. The second approach will definitely rub your boss the wrong way and you may start experiencing hostility from them.
You must acknowledge the contribution of each member of your team. Understand that in as much as you have these awesome capabilities, there are sections within the department that you can never fathom and need help with. So, when your bright ideas result in successful projects, remember to recognize the whole team and not hog all the attention. At the end of the day, your capabilities cannot shine on their own without the support of your team.
Dealing with bosses who are less-than-incredibly-intelligent is something most people have to deal with sooner or later. We hope that this short guide to the basics of dealing with such a situation will help.
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