Relationships are never easy, particularly business ones, where you’re expected to produce results through a bunch of wildly differing personalities, skill sets, and experiences. The pressure point of these relationships for the company is the management position.

Today’s business culture considers managers are accountable for most, if not all, of the employee problems. And numerous research studies by well-respected organizations identify working for a stellar manager is the catalyst for an employee’s career success.  When employees buy into this mental blame game, the sad bi-product is individuals mired in victimhood.

I’ve examined this conviction for over 30 years, and I’m here to tell you this principle is a lie!

Let me share what I’ve discovered through asking employees two simple questions. I urge you to pay attention because this is a career-changer. I asked:

  1. How many bosses have you had in your career?
  2. Of those bosses, how many would you count as a terrific boss who supported you and your career?

The striking result: 65 percent to 75 percent of their bosses are “Less Than Ideal!”

What this means is that even though our culture judges working with an excellent boss as the answer to being successful… It isn’t! The truth is working for the “less than stellar boss” is a winning formula.

Think about it: Who is the first person HR contacts when a juicy new assignment opens up in the company. Yes, your boss! Or who are they going to call when you are interviewing for that dream job…? I know officially references are designed to funnel into one department, but our world is too small to count on that—everyone knows someone who knows someone.

Yes, your boss—whether great or not so great—is your reference! Your boss spreads the good news—or not—about you depending on the relationship you create. Embracing your boss is just as if not more significant to your career pathway as the expertise you bring to your position.

The reality is if you have a great boss count yourself lucky. It’s rare. Thriving in your organization isn’t about your boss. Instead, it’s your attitude toward your boss—and you control that.

How can you work effectively with a “Less Than Boss” and in “Less Than Ideal Circumstances”? Because if 65 to 75 percent of your bosses are “less than” and the statistics confirm this… then, you’re likely to run into another one on your next position. And if you haven’t acquired a healthy way of working with and for such bosses, it’s doubtful you’ll gain much career traction.

Let’s explore opportunities reporting to a “Less Than” boss presents you.

  • Your boss is in a place of authority because the organization values the qualities he or she exhibits. As you recognize the admired attributes of your boss, you’ll gain insight into what the company honors—you may want to consider taking some of them on for yourself.
  • Supporting and partnering with your boss for the greater good of the organization sets you up as a team player. Companies don’t like employees who point fingers at others. Instead, join the team and be the difference-maker no matter the quality of your boss.
  • Ask for assignments that are low hanging fruit for your boss, but aren’t to you. This approach will set you up for the future. It adds value not only to your resume. It also offers you higher-level skills well above your pay grade—not a bad thing for your career.

There are plenty of additional occasions to boost your career even while working for a “less than” boss if you keep your eyes open, partner with your boss, and stop looking for ways to make your boss wrong. Remember, a lousy boss can’t stop your destiny unless you take your attention away from your purpose.

The truth is even the best leaders, with the most impressive EQ techniques, can’t generate engagement unless you choose to self-motivate yourself daily… It is up to you!


Career Advancement Strategies

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