Dear reader, we are really learning a lot from the Book of the month – Winning: The Answers (CONFRONTING 74 OF THE TOUGHEST QUESTIONS IN BUSINESS TODAY) by Jack & Suzy Welch.
Today, we would be looking at Chapter 60 – Are you a Boss Hater?
My wife and I regularly see incompetence, tolerance for stupid decision making, and outright unprofessionalism at the Fortune 500 companies where we work. Why is it so hard to find a manager that you can respect, follow, and learn something from? — BARRINGTON, ILLINOIS
It’s not hard. But it does require a certain mind- set— one you may have difficulty finding in yourself. If so, you’re not alone.
Every week, in fact, we receive several e- mails that sound like yours. The wording and details are different, of course, but the underlying question is always the same: Why am I the only person at my company who gets it?
Now, we realize there are days when it can feel as if everyone around you is inept. Companies, after all, are comprised of people, and people can screw up, re-ward mediocrity, play politics, and otherwise commit a myriad of organizational sins. But the “everyone’s dumb but me” perspective is dangerous. Not only is it a career killer, it’s simply not right. How do you explain the thriving, creative financial services industry? Or the envelope- pushing genius of the life sciences field? The fact is: too many companies perform well every day, inventing, making, selling, and distributing millions of products and services and returning billions in profits, for every manager out there to be a total nincompoop. It just can’t be.
Which is why we suggest that you reflect on your own mind- set, looking for an attitude that might explain your gloomy view of the working world. To be direct, we are wondering if you might be a boss hater.
Now, very few people would ever identify themselves as boss haters—they usually see themselves as noble victims, “speaking truth to power,” as it were. Forget that line. Boss haters are a real breed. It doesn’t matter where they work—big corporations, small family firms, partnerships, non-profits, newspapers, or government agencies. Boss haters enter into any authority relationship with barely repressed cynicism and ingrained negativity toward “the system.” And even though the reasons behind their attitude may be varied, from upbringing to personality to political bent, boss haters are unified in their inability to see the value in any person above them in a hierarchy.
Interestingly, the boss haters in any organization tend to find one another, and once in numbers, they usually become quite outspoken. Boss haters also tend to be on the high IQ side. It’s unfortunate, really. Because instead of using their intelligence to look for new ideas to improve the way work is done, boss haters focus laserlike on all of the organization’s flaws and the sheer, incomprehensible idiocy of the higher- ups.
Of course, due to their general intelligence, some boss haters do get ahead—briefly. But more often, the organization feels their vibe, and bosses respond in kind with distancing, or worse. Now, maybe you’re not a boss hater. But the sweeping nature of your question pretty much tests that notion. We suggest, then, that you test yourself. Could it really be that every single boss you’ve encountered has a problem?
Or is the problem something you could fix—just by opening up your mind?