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3 Things Your Boss Never Says to You, but Should

3 Things Your Boss Never Says to You, but Should

If you have a job, you probably have a boss. This poor person is who we most often vent to or blame for dissatisfaction with a job that sucks regardless of the reason. They hear it all and regularly take the fall for issues that arise with their employees. But have you ever stopped to think about the role YOU play in your office drama? Is it possible that your behaviors, attitude, appearance or skillset may be causing your own problems—and creating massive stress for your boss?

In surveys of supervisors across industries, there is a broad spectrum of communication skills and comfort level with providing truly honest feedback, especially about aspects that aren’t directly job related even if those things are impacting the success, productivity or happiness of their co-workers, themselves and the company. By better understanding some of the top issues bosses must deal with that may not be the most comfortable topics to approach, we can be better employees and be more successful at work and at home.

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3 Things You Need to Hear

Here are three things that bosses should be saying to you to help you be more successful and help the team and company.

1. “Pull yourself together!”

If you drag yourself out of bed and into the office after barely putting effort into your wardrobe, hair or appearance, it can not only impact your own success, but also create issues for your team. Why? Research proves that we relate more positively to people who look (and smell) nice. This doesn’t mean you need to be a supermodel, but spending more than five minutes getting ready for going into public will make a difference in your career growth, personal relationships and how others treat you.

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2. “Don’t be a jerk!”

We run into jerks all the time—the cranky person behind the counter at the coffee shop, the snarky customer service person on the phone and even some of our closest friends and family can turn into annoyances who rub us the wrong way sometimes. But often YOU are sending out vibes and being a jerk yourself that is causing others to mirror you and behave the same way. Think back on your last several conversations, emails and social media interactions. Were they negative, whiny, judgmental or egotistical? If so, chances are you need an attitude adjustment.

3. “Stop being lazy!”

No one wants to admit that they are lazy or causing problems for others, but in today’s world of work there is a major issue with disengaged workers, distractions and lack of responsibility. Employees are doing the bare minimum to get the job done, exerting minimal energy and innovative thinking into their roles and putting out a “not my job” attitude when others ask for help. If you are regularly thinking about how to do as little as possible, often spending time on social media while at the office or always leaving the office for personal needs, you are likely putting out a vibe of laziness and disengagement to your boss and co-workers.

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What can you do?

1. Put in effort.

Take a shower and have good personal hygiene. Style your hair. Wear clean, stylish clothes. Ditch old, stinky shoes. Ladies—add a little make-up and jewelry. Guys—invest in a good haircut and personal grooming appointment. It doesn’t take much to elevate your appearance, which will directly impact your work and life happiness and potential income—and make the work environment more pleasant for everyone.

2. Shift your attitude.

Firstly, what is driving you to be a jerk? Are you stressed, unhappy about something in your life, struggling with a health issue, having money or relationship problems? Negative behaviors are usually driven by something going on behind the scenes so be really honest about what’s causing your issues and start to work on the root of your problem. Next, you have to spend more time doing things that make you happy which will naturally shift your attitude. If you think your life or job sucks then change the dynamics. We have the power to choose our path. Finally, make an effort to be nice. Smile more. Ask people how they’re doing. Think about someone besides yourself. It’s a hard shift but one that will pay off in career and personal success.

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3. Improve your job.

Re-define your job tasks so they are more fun, interesting and focused on your personal strengths and goals. Every job comes with boring or tedious tasks that have to get done, but you can work with your boss to create the rest of it to fit your needs. Think bigger about what you’re doing and how it impacts the world in big and small ways. Pretend you are someone else who has to work with you. Would you want to work with someone like you? If not, it’s time to step up your commitment to your work and create a new plan for job success.

Share your thoughts: Have you ever had to have a difficult conversation with your boss or employee about sensitive topics? How did you handle it? 

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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