It Doesn’t Take a Wizard to Build a Better Boss | Fast Company by Len Schlesinger. This is one of those articles that I first saw years ago (1996). It caught my attention then and is still a great article now. It starts by recognizing that complaining about the boss is pretty universal. Len writes:
- Everybody complains about the same things: The boss doesn’t listen. The boss doesn’t offer encouragement. The boss doesn’t recognize superior effort. Whatever the specific language, the theme is always the same: there’s something wrong with the boss.
And then he identifies some universal truths including you can’t simply adapt yourself to the boss and you can’t live boss-free. He says
- You cannot change the boss. Everyone tries; it never works. Complaining about the boss won’t make the boss a better boss. It will make you a bitter employee.
He says the solution is to build a better you — you can develop your skills and develop your character by learning from your boss’s flaws. The worse the boss is, the better the opportunity is for you. He then provides examples from his personal experience working with “bad” bosses and how each experience taught him skills and helped develop a better you.
I love this article. I love the initial recognition that everyone complains about the boss, you can’t change the boss, and the solution is to build a better you. There’s a popular song “Waiting on the World to Change“. I like the music but hate the lyrics. There is no use in waiting on the world to change any more than there is any use in complaining about or trying to change the boss. The correct response is to take the initiative and do something about it. If the boss is insufferable, change jobs. If not, focus on what you can learn from the situation, what skills you can develop and how you can build a better you.