What To Do About Your Boss’s Weaknesses
Identifying your boss’s weakness is half of the problem. From there, you should be able to proactively balance those weaknesses with your own strengths. Here are some tips on how to apply your strengths to achieve a winning balance as a team:
1. Pick Up the Slack
If the responsibilities of your boss were a rope, there must be some slack in the line, somewhere. Pick up that slack where you can. This can be tricky, depending upon the ego and objectives of your boss. The best leaders are not intimidated by strong direct reports. However, others some may perceive your assistance as a threat to their authority. In such situations, reflect on your experience to the boss and explain how you addressed similar issues before. Then make the offer to pick up that piece for the boss while they focus on “higher priorities”. This should assuage the ego, where necessary.
2. Professional Development as a Team
Too often, professional development plans are developed with a focus solely on the individual. Instead, look across your team. Whether you take the path of building on your strengths further, as suggested by Clifton in “Now Discover Your Strengths“, or improving your weaknesses, tackle the challenge together. What strengths does the team want to build upon? If your boss is building on strategic skills, perhaps you should build on the tactical. If your boss is building on communications, perhaps you should improve on project tracking. It remains important to develop individually over time – just not at the expense of the team.
3. Constructive Feedback
Criticism of any kind is still criticism. Instead of constructive criticism, seek to provide constructive feedback. Feedback can be positive or negative in form, but should always be positive in intent. The key to constructive feedback is never to deliver it in public. The age old mantra, ignored by too many, remains, “Praise in public, reprimand in private”. The same is true of even the most positive intentions, when providing feedback. This is particularly true with bosses or leaders. Even the slightest negative feedback, received in public by a direct report, may be considered offensive. This is not true for the the best leaders, but it is a risk you run, nonetheless.
So what do you do about weaknesses found in your boss and leaders? You could do what most do: grin and bare it, complain to others and maybe even look for a new job. Or, you could distinguish yourself as a servant leader. You could, strengthen your boss and leaders.
Question: In what other ways can you help strengthen the weaknesses of leaders in your organization?