Many success-minded professionals are challenged by a boss who’s controlling, limiting, boorish, clingy or even taking credit for their good work. Unfortunately, this is more common than not. So what should you do when your boss is actively derailing your career happiness?
Change. Yes change! You need to make some serious changes in order to cultivate career happiness.
But before you send your interview suit to the dry cleaners, consider changing your perspective, approach, communication and game plan.
Change your Perspective: It’s not you, it’s them. Really, it is them! So don’t let a badly behaving boss derail your career happiness. If a boss is controlling, odds are they’re struggling with insecurities and feel strongly no one can do the job better. If they’re limiting, perhaps they’re uncertain about your capabilities and feel there’s learning to do. On the other hand, a clingy boss often wants reassurance or feels they just can’t lose you, which can only work in your favor. Sure you’re frustrated, but what’s behind these acts may not be totally mean-spirited. Work on changing your perspective to think of your boss as someone needing your expertise and guidance –because they do! Then find mutually beneficial ways to assuage their insecurities without enabling.
Change Your Approach: Great supervisors and leaders want to help you with career advancement. Though it may not seem like it at the time, your boss wants you to succeed—she may just need your guidance. Managing up is a great strategy when your boss is derailing your career happiness. Help them help you by giving sound suggestions for project application, or asking for mentoring. Don’t forget that managing up also includes positive reinforcement, understanding their needs in advance and changing your approach to sync with theirs.
Change Your Communication: Communication is the key to understanding why your boss is derailing your career happiness. Start with developing a solid understanding of what’s actually happening from both sides of the desk by asking questions. It could simply be nothing more than a misunderstanding and perhaps they believed their actions were helping you succeed. If their goals for your success are incongruent with your own, honest communication is warranted. Hosting a facilitated discussion or mediation helps both parties step beyond emotion to get to the bottom line. And remember, if all else fails, communicate your concerns to your Human Resources department and ask for their guidance and support.
Change Game Plans: This is a great time to ask your career coach to help you develop a game plan for change. Whether this change includes a new position, a transfer to another department or even dialogue with other leaders in the organization, this plan is the first step to leveraging long-term career happiness.
How To Be Career Happy? Take Back Your Power