5 Ways to Survive a Tyrant Boss (Part 1); next week 5 Ways to Thrive Despite a Tyrant Boss (Part 2)
Are you mad as hell and ready to fight the good fight for change, or do you want to find a way to work within the parameters you are given? If it is the latter, go directly to 5 Ways to Thrive Despite a Tyrant Boss.
If you’re still in, your first consideration is determining if proper conduct has been defined and is being violated. This is a solid position to take a stand from. If you are looking for a change to something previously undefined, you are probably best to look to 5 Ways to Thrive Despite the Tyrant Boss – or fight with the acceptance that you one outcome may be you end by finding a better-suited job (vote with your feet).
Now that you’ve decided somebody has to stand up for what is right, you have to clearly define what ‘right’ looks like. Do you want to stop a particular practice? Do you want to see the spirit and intent of a rule upheld? Do you want a certain workplace value to be given life? Be very specific about what mountain you are climbing and how you will measure success.
Survival Rule # 2 Do your research.
Information is the power to be prepared against the downside possibilities. It is also a great power equalizer. As an added bonus it also expands your ability to assess the options.
Arm yourself with knowledge of the downside risks of failure and build a plan as to how you can protect yourself against them. Find out when this situation has been tackled before and what lessons were learned. Know the style of your Tyrant boss and document information that may be useful to your cause. Know the rules that the players are expected to abide by. Policies, guidelines, best practices, mission statements, and by-laws are designed to protect workers against power abuses and are essential to leveling the playing field with a Tyrant.
Build a team of people with the collective skills to make a difference. Allies are people who share your goal (which is why it is so important to have a clearly defined goal). Don’t confuse them with friends. Each individual may not be able to take on a Tryant boss alone but the collective effort behind a good cause may shift the balance of power.
In addition look for an ally up the food chain from your boss. There is someone who does not want a Tyrant impacting the image of the organization or the workplace environment. Make them your ally.
Survival Rule #4 Build Your Skills.
Make yourself invaluable to the organization so you are not vulnerable to criticism. Assess where your weaknesses are and strengthen them. Take a class, work extra hours, strengthen weaknesses your Tyrant boss could criticize or use against you, whatever it takes. This is a short term effort for a long term gain. Also develop the skills needed to tackle challenges during the upcoming battle. Do you know how to present an argument well, how to organize a group, how to communicate with new technologies, or how to navigate existing processes? If there is a skill you can develop that will increase your chances of success, learn it.
Survival rule #5 Commit.
Your commitment to what is right may be the biggest ingredient to your success. It gives you focus when threats are made, or your opponent tries to make you feel small or wrong. Once you cross the bridge and make overcoming the challenge the only way out, you are on your way. If you retreat you will pay a personal price or be made an example of. It is do or die (metaphorically). Don’t torture yourself with waffling thoughts. You know your cause is good, have considered living with the status quo, and have decided to push for change. You have information and allies. Develop a plan for moving the issue forward. Break it down into a series of tasks or deliverables making sure that each task is challenging but not terrifying. You want adrenalin not cortisol surging through your veins. Then stick with it! Be heroic and rise to the challenge.
These 5 ways are based on the understandings of Balanced Leadership. The four pillars of Two Worlds, Two Operating Systems, Archetypal Intelligence and Dynamic Balance provide the foundation for strong leadership in any situation.
Stay tuned for Part 2: 5 Ways to Thrive Despite a Tyrant Boss coming next week….