They say that birds of a feather flock together.
That people like people who are like them.
We decide in an instant if someone is:
- a friend or a foe
- safe or dangerous
- part of our tribe…or not.
That’s why first impressions are important.
It’s why looking the part matters.
And finding commonalities…
…if you want to increase your chances of success.
Because how your boss perceives you matters.
That’s why it pays to start off on the right foot.
That’s why it pays for your boss to see you as
someone who is reliable or complementary.
But what if you’re not?
Or you were once, but not anymore?
What if you’re considered a foe and not a friend?
Chances are that you’re not getting along and you’re not getting ahead.
Should you stay or should you go?
Maybe the songsters have it right.
- If you don’t have the answer, Kelly Clarkson suggests you should Walk Away.
- The Clash know that If you go there will be trouble. If you stay there will be double.
Double for you that is, unless you change your game!
I’ve worked with my fair share of bosses who’ve known that it’s them.
They’ve had too many staff disappoint them and leave.
They’ve wanted to change their game.
One called himself The Tyrant…and he was!
But he wasn’t my boss so it was much easier to stand my ground and point out how offensive he was being.
Another I called The Scaredy Cat. So scared to say anything for fear that he’d upset someone. Afraid they’d think he was mean…until he couldn’t stand it any more and would explode.
But it takes two to tango.
Even if your boss knows that they’re being
The Tyrant or The Scaredy Cat or something else un-leadership-like,
and even if they’re doing something about it,
that doesn’t give you a free pass.
The best leaders are always learning. And that includes you!
Here are 3 tips for you to try to improve your situation.
1. Stop complaining and start observing.
Complaining is boring.
It doesn’t change anything.
Start being a problem solver instead.
Ask questions. Lots of them. Aim to go beneath the surface and get to the root of the problem:
- What’s really going on here? Does your boss see you as incompetent, a threat, doesn’t like your style, etc.?
- Why do you think your boss perceives you this way?
- What’s your part in this?
Observe the words they use, their body language, what they focus on, how they relate to others at different levels, etc.
Don’t hold back from getting some help here. We all have blind spots.
2. Choose a plan of action and start experimenting.
Nothing will change until you do. It’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable and step into your discomfort zone.
First, plan what you’ll do differently based on what you observed – whether it’s how you say things, what you say, your body language, etc.
The trick here is to get started. Start with your smallest step, whatever feels the least risky for you. If it helps, role-play it.
Again, get support and take care of yourself. This isn’t easy.
3. Rinse and repeat.
Keep observing and experimenting. What’s working? What isn’t? Why and why not?
As the saying goes:
If at first you don’t succeed,
try, try, try again.
You don’t have to stay where you are.
And you shouldn’t if it’s not right for you.
But it would be a shame to leave without first doing your best to improve the situation for yourself.