Career Calling

April 29, 2012

“Never Had a Bad Boss”

One of my clients, we’ll call him “Harry,” told me something that I initially did not believe.  He told me, “I’ve never had a bad boss.”  That didn’t ring true.  Then I thought about what has made Harry a successful manager for over 20 years: He knows how to get along with anyone, including his bosses.

Harry has been involved in several mergers, acquisitions, downsizing, the kind of change that often leads to the pink slip.  Harry survives and often thrives in these environments.  What does he do that others don’t?  He looks for a way to solve the problem and do what the company needs.  In one case, his company faced a situation in which many major clients would be alienated and could even sue Harry’s employer.  His managers on the VP level were petrified.  Harry knew the company president and convinced him that the problem could be solved.  Harry spent the next year and a half working closely with each client, often dealing with their anger at his company’s policy.  He kept their trust and, in the process, built a strong bond with his own bosses.

What Harry has done won’t work for everyone.  But his example speaks to how we can manage our attitudes at work.  Try to do what is best for the company and work with your boss.  If that effort is not appreciated and rewarded, it’s time to move on. But don’t leave with bitterness.  Follow Harry’s example and stay positive.  That will make you stronger and more successful as you navigate and manage your career.