You can learn leadership from anywhere. Judge Judy is one unexpected place for me. Go figure!
You know what it’s like. You’ve got something important to run by your boss. You want to time it right, so you do the smart thing and ask her Executive Assistant: “what’s the weather like today?”
Everyone knows what that means. How’s the mood in the land of the Big Cheese.
Now, you’d hope that one of the reasons the Big Cheese got to that position is because they’re great at emotion regulation. But it’s not a given. And let’s be generous, maybe they’ve had a particularly bad day.
If you have the luxury of time, you can always come back later in the hope that the storm has been downgraded.
If not, there are things you can do, like:
- checking the hard stop for your meeting so you stick to the time, if not finish early;
- making sure you’re prepared with a clear agenda and all the relevant information at hand; and
- making sure you regulate your emotions better than your boss. If ever there is a time to be polite, positive and professional, it’s now. You don’t want to find yourself drawn into the bad mood vortex.
Just watch Judge Judy for this. Seriously. You’ll learn how to be an exemplary employee. She’s formidable, but she’s also fair. Sometimes she seems moody. Easily annoyed. Intolerant. And yet, you’ll also see someone setting firm boundaries and fully owning her authority. That never gets old.
Of course, she has Byrd and the law on her side. But so do the parties whose case she’s presiding over, whether they see it or not.
On the subject of Byrd, I’ve never seen an episode without him. If Judge Judy is the Lone Ranger, then Byrd is her Tonto. I’ll bet he gets a handsome pay packet. Even so, I don’t think you can buy that loyalty.
Is that another testament to her leadership? No matter her mood with the parties, she always seems polite, positive and professional with him. And a testament to Byrd. He’s as solid as a rock. Time after time. No matter Judge Judy’s mood, he doesn’t seem to waver.
We can learn from both of them.
It’s a real test of your interpersonal skills when your boss is moody. Don’t forget that every interaction matters. In those more moody times, if you can help your boss feel just a little bit better when she spends time with you, I bet your world will be a much better place.