Zen is you – Be.

The Boss is Always Right

Posted in objectives, Uncategorized by dave225 on November 14, 2008

Oh, it hurts to even write it. The boss is always right? Well, yes. Yes, boss.

Even when the boss is wrong.

Caveat 1 – The boss is not right when the boss is ethically wrong.  Don’t do anything you have a moral problem with. But if you have a moral problem with it, either talk it out or take it to H.R.

No one likes a sycophant.

Caveat 2 – Don’t be a “Yes” man. If you disagree with your boss, speak up. There is nothing wrong with questioning your boss’s position if you are genuinely questioning for the purpose of enlightenment. “Explain it again, I still don’t see your point of view” is different from “You’re wrong. I want to do things my way.” You have one, maybe two opportunities to disagree outright and explain why your opinion is right. But if you can’t sell it, it’s time to toe the line. And here’s why ….

  1. Strategy. You may not be able to see everything that is influencing decisions at the levels above you.  Moving a company forward is done through vision and leadership, which may bubble up from the bottom, but needs to be driven from the top.  Staffing and decisions are based on reaching those goals.  Even when the decisions are bad, they need to be in alignment.
  2. Trust. You build trust with your boss by supporting his objectives. The more trust you build and the more your boss believes that you are there help him to be successful, the more he will listen to you when you do have a dissenting opinion.
  3. Paycheck. Remember who does your review and approves your paycheck.  Your place within the organization depends on whether you’re helping to achieve its goals.  And it’s your boss who decides how well you’re doing that.

Even if you have the worst, most unreasonable boss in the world, figure out what motivates him.  Be a part of his team.  You’ll not only feel more productive, but you’ll gain some social capital.   (OK, fine line between that and being a toady – decide for yourself where that line is.)

Question authority.  Innovate.  Improve the process.  But make it align with the big picture.  And make sure you understand the big picture – and the littler pictures underneath.

Damn!  Missed Bosses Day.

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2 Responses

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  1. Artie Isaac said, on November 24, 2008 at 2:57 am

    Here’s how I knew I wasn’t meant to be the boss: I was too rarely right!

  2. Batyr N. said, on October 5, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Depending on who the boss is , this strategy might or might not be right. With a great boss this is a great strategy. With a more selfish one- not so much. The bad boss will take the attitude described above for granted, will ride you and won’t give you the trust back. This boss you won’t convince, since he is full of him/herself. In this case, just look for another job if the situation allows, before losing your spine.


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