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7 Ways To Criticize Your Boss and Keep Your Job

7 Ways To Criticize Your Boss and Keep Your Job

Everybody poops, and when you have a boss, the poop can roll downhill onto your head. When it does, you usually have to take it with a grain of salt. Every so often, you’ll find yourself in a position where you can’t stand it anymore. You may want to throw a chair at your boss or otherwise beat him or her, but it’s better to solve things with words. Criticizing your boss is easy—doing it without losing your job takes finesse.

1. Timing is everything.

Unless it’s impossible for you to complete your work until your issue is resolved (and I mean it’s actually impossible, not just that you’re too lazy to do it), it’s not a good idea to bring up your concerns with your boss during a busy time. In most office buildings, the busiest time is Monday morning, whereas it’s a down time in retail and restaurants.

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2. Keep it private.

When at all possible schedule time in advance. You don’t have to tell your boss you want to meet to criticize them—just ask for a meeting at their earliest convenience. If they ask what about, explain it’s something you’d rather speak about in private. There are very few bosses in the world that won’t understand and respect your request.

3. Stick to the facts.

Avoid being petty, and avoid opinion-based judgments on your boss. Telling your boss they’re stupid, for example, won’t get you anywhere. Instead, have graphs and reports to back up your claims. Does the morning meeting make your job harder? Do you need a second monitor or extra break? Show your productivity statistics to prove it.

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4. Ham it up.

When bringing bad news to the boss, injecting humor is a great way to lighten the blow. It helps if you already have a good relationship with your boss—also keep in mind the general tone of your workplace. Some companies are more serious than others. No matter how serious things are, there’s at least one joke for every situation.

5. Play nice.

Although a little comic relief is necessary, remember you’re not on a Comedy Central Roast. No matter how funny you think insult comedy is, you want to be nice to your boss. This is the person in charge of your paycheck and livelihood, so treat them like a mentally slow child who doesn’t understand any of the words coming out your mouth.

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6. Keep it clean.

When criticizing your boss, avoid using foul language. It’s okay to tell your boss that it bothers you when they make your job harder, but telling them they’re an asshole isn’t the best idea, especially if they actually are an asshole—they’ll prove you right. In the business world, using profanity with your boss will make them focus on how you react to issues rather than the issues themselves.

7. Stop while you’re ahead.

After you’ve said your piece, you’re done. Don’t linger on it, don’t keep reiterating, and don’t keep pushing into other issues. There are only so many hits your boss is going to take before they start to hit back, and they can hit you where it counts—your wallet. Be gracious and let the criticism begin and end in that moment like an adult.

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Beat the Boss may be a fun game on your phone, but if you do it in real life, you’re going to be arrested at best. Rather than planning some Horrible Bosses-style revenge against your boss, talk it out with them. So long as you respect everyone’s time, approach the situation lightheartedly, and discuss your concerns like an adult, you should have no problems.

If you do run into problems, criticize your boss to your boss’s boss. If things still don’t get better, blow the whistle and turn them all in. They probably deserve 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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