“Over the past 15 years, I’ve held Q&A sessions with over a million people at more than a thousand events around the world. In all but a handful of these events, people bring up their bosses – and vent about them. This topic comes up without fail, no matter where I am, or what industry or company I’m speaking to.
The troubles range from, ‘My boss is too difficult and demanding’ to ‘My boss doesn’t really care about me, it’s all about her’ to ‘I’ve been busting my butt and my boss just doesn’t recognize my performance — he feels that everyone is equally wonderful’ to ‘There’s no focus on how much you do, it’s who you know.’ I can’t think of a lament I haven’t heard. …
For years, I’ve tried to give advice …. Several months ago, I came up with what I think is the better answer, as far as career development is concerned. I’ve turned the question back on the questioner, by asking a new question that might prove helpful, not only in their current situation but going forward – a question, I hope, will help more people become better bosses in the process:
WOULD YOU WANT TO WORK FOR . . . YOU?
Yes, it takes a certain threshold of self-awareness to recognize your own flaws, but you should see the look on people’s faces when they stop to honestly think through their own leadership characteristics. The self-confident, self-aware person, upon reflection, seems to really respond to this question. The follow up reception I have received has been incredibly positive, demonstrated by the emails and letters from people in the audiences who found this exercise really useful. Many of them had taken the chance to spend some quiet time reflecting on both their strengths and their flaws — and, from their notes, appeared open to dealing with their weaknesses in order to become stronger, more effective leaders. Leaders who people want to follow.”