Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

Sunday, October 15, 2017 1:00 am

Authors shed light as bosses have their day

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Tomorrow is National Boss Day, but there might not be a lot of celebrating in the workplace.

Three out of 4 workers report their boss is the worst and most stressful part of their job, according to Michelle Joy and Jody Foster, authors of “The Schmuck in My Office: How to Deal Effectively with Difficult People at Work.”

The book was released this spring; I first mentioned it in July. 

Bosses, of course, aren't the only people who can be difficult. But with the national day coming in their honor – or supposedly their honor – Joy and Foster shared a couple of steps to help reduce tension.

First, acknowledge what you might “be bringing to the table and why your boss' behavior bothers you so much.”

If you have found solace in group gossip about your manager, Joy and Foster said in an emailed article, chances are there are reasons why you are personally frustrated by the person.

“Do they remind you of someone else in life? Can you absolutely not tolerate criticism? What is it about you that makes your boss seem so bad?” You might be surprised, the article said, at what answers arise.

Secondly, Joy and Foster suggest an approach they say can be hard to come to terms with – empathizing with your boss. If you have to find a way to get along, you'll need to “take the long view” and try to understand why they act they way they do.

“In allowing yourself to empathize with your boss, you also give space for some of the negativity to fade away,” they wrote. In understanding your boss “and yourself, a desire to learn and to grow can start to replace the bottled up disdain spilling into every part of your day.”

The hardest part, they said, is “acknowledging our own roles – and capabilities – in making the workplace more comfortable.”

Boss ladies

I decided to Google the popular phrase “Boss Lady” to see what might be encouraging for fellow female leaders in light of tomorrow's big day. Here's a few sayings that surfaced on sites, including Pinterest and Instagram:

• Hustle until your haters ask if you are hiring.

• Never announce your moves before you make them.

• You can't have a million-dollar dream with a minimum-wage work ethic. 

• I woke up this morning and realized I don't have what it takes to sit back and be average.

• I don't like to gamble, but if there's one thing I'm willing to bet on, it's myself. 

• They call us dreamers, but we're the ones who don't sleep.

• Do not be obsessed with expensive things. Instead, be obsessed with excellence. Things don't make you excellent. However, excellence will make you expensive. 

• Some days, she has no idea how she'll do it, but every single day, it still gets done.

Pursuit of excellence

West Point graduate Gary Morton last month released a book his publicist says “unveils fantastic stores of U.S. heroes and corporate legends. The title is “Commanding Excellence: Inspiring Purpose, Passion, and Ingenuity through Leadership That Matters.” 

Morton is a former platoon leader and tank commander in the Army.

Topics he covers in the book include the power of forming close-knit teams, how to create a culture that inspires game-changing new product category creation, and how to align an entire organization around clear purpose “and build a maniacal obsession to achieve it.”

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at lisagreen@jg.net. Lead On also appears online as a blog at www.journalgazette.net/blog/lead-on/