Hello Leaders! I hope you’re doing great today!
I want to address an issue that many lower and mid-level leaders often run across, and it’s having to bail your boss out of a difficult situation. If you haven’t experienced this, well, it’s just a matter of time when your boss or leader will actually come to you to help them with a problem. Something will be challenging for him or her and it will be up to you to save the day!
Have you ever been there? I have been there numerous times throughout my career, and let me tell you, I would have to say it takes the cake! Of all the things I’ve experienced throughout my career, all the kudos, rewards, and recognition I’ve received, nothing compares to having your boss come to you for an answer to a difficult situation or to them solve a problem.
Now, I bet some of you were almost bowing up, and ready to say how much it disappoints you whenever your boss comes to ask you a question or for help, and I think that’s a normal reaction. However, I want you to take a minute and just think about it.
Leaders and bosses are not paid to “know it all”; they are paid to lead, direct, manage, and ensure the jobs are getting completed! It’s actually their job to make sure you are doing your job, and many times you will know your specific job better than they will.
Now, I must admit, the more job knowledge a leader or boss has, the more influential they can be at times. However, let us get realistic. Unless you are leading a very small operation, chances are very unlikely the boss/leader will know everything about every specific job.
Think of it this way: when your boss comes to you for help, they are essentially saying they Trust You; they Respect Your Work; and that You are a “Go-To Person” whenever they need help. If you ask me, I think that is worthy of getting a little excited about, and a confidence booster!
Help For The Future!
Now, I titled this article “Stop Giving Your Boss All The Answers” because just like when you’re training somebody to perform a job, and you help them figure things out with your guidance, you can use this same approach with your boss/leader; you can guide them through the job. After all, the next time they need your help, you may not be there to help.
Let’s face it; leaders and bosses need help too, and truthfully, there are not enough bosses and leaders who are willing to swallow their pride and ask for help when they need it. Many times, when a boss needs help from a junior leader they will use their coercive power to get the information from you. And nobody enjoys that!
Asking for help can be difficult for a boss to ask for, so just keep that in mind the next time it happens to you.
The Ugly Side
Of course, there is an opposite side of this as well, and that is when your leader/boss rarely asks you anything and/or ignores just about everything you say. This type of leader is NOT a leader at all, and they create a terrible leadership culture within the organization.
When too many leaders in an organization adopt the mindset of not listening to their junior team members, it’s about time to replace them. I have rarely seen a top executive leader reverse his/her “holier than thou” attitude and start having an open mind to listen and learn from junior team members (and I firmly believe that everyone can learn something from anyone providing they have an open mind and a willingness to learn).
A Couple of Options
The best bet if you are a junior team member in this position is to have a serious sit down conversation with that boss/leader. Tell him/her how you feel; tell them you have something to contribute; tell them that you, and possibly all your co-workers, are frustrated about the way you are treated. Then wait and see where it goes.
One important thing to remember is that it is rarely OK to be disrespectful to a person in a leadership position when dealing with an issue like this. If you feel disrespected, my advice is to seek out a seasoned mentor in the company, or talk to a representative from HR to let them know the detrimental impact that the poor leadership is having on the younger workforce.
The Fallout of Disrespectful Leadership
Now, if you are the leader or boss that is not listening to your newly trained team members, well, it would behoove you to realize your junior team members are the long-term future of the company, and it’s your responsibility mold and mentor them to replace you.
The team members that stick around for the long haul when a bad leader is disrespecting their people are not usually the best and brightest team members; all too often the ones that stick around are the team members who are your not-so-great members. When leaders disrespect and fail to listen to their junior team members, the up and coming great team members will pick up and leave to find an organization that will respect them and develop their skills.
Ultimately, the choice is yours no matter what side of the argument you are on, but as you can see, this type of situation has many challenges to run to for leaders and junior team members.
As always, Run To Your Challenges! … and Lead Well!