Think you could do a better job than your boss? You’re not alone! According to a recent Monster poll, “In your current/most recent position, do you feel you could do a better job than your boss?”, a significant majority—72%— of the respondents said they believed they could.
A relatively minor percentage—11%—said their boss did a better job, 9% said they did not work under a boss while 8% remained undecided.
So what lessons can we take away from this poll?
Lesson 1: Managers should brush up on their leadership skills
It is common for those in managerial positions to make the mistake of resorting to fear to motivate the team rather than providing positive encouragement. The ability to inspire employees is a key leadership trait that managers often fall short on.
As a boss, you can address this issue by:
• Providing good leadership through personal example.
• Creating a conducive environment for employees to reach their full potential and make tangible contributions to the organization’s bottom line.
• Genuinely respecting employees instead of imparting token recognition.
• Imbuing them with a sense of purpose about their work.
• Creating an atmosphere of trust as opposed to mere transparency.
As a leader, if most of your time is spent on administrative and managerial issues, employees may doubt your expertise in the field. This could be another reason why they feel they can do a better job than you. Address this problem by adopting a more hands-on style of leadership.
Lesson 2: Employees should try and empathize with their boss
The failure of subordinates to imagine themselves in their boss’ shoes and see what the job looks like from the inside is the second key takeaway from the Monster poll.
Irrespective of how your manager may appear to you, team leaders are almost always under intense pressure from the senior management to deliver to often impossible deadlines while not compromising on quality. And that isn’t their only worry: they must also perform thankless administrative roles.
While you assess your manager based on team interactions, the fact remains that a lot of work that managers do is often carried out behind the scenes and not immediately apparent to the team. Which is why it’s important that you adopt a more empathetic outlook towards your boss. Feelings that the boss is mediocre, incompetent or just plain rude may disappear once you are able to see the many roles s/he juggles throughout the day.
As an employee, here’s how you can be more understanding of your boss:
• Build a real relationship. Ask the boss out for a drink or just go over to his/her cubicle for a casual chit-chat and chances are you will get a better insight into their work life.
• Don’t pass judgment in a hurry. Make allowances for the immense pressures and stress that bosses must shoulder.
• Understand that your boss is human too and has strengths and weaknesses. Focusing on the strengths is one way to build a healthy work rapport and will pay off in the long run.
After trying all these suggestions, if you still fancy yourself more capable or competent than your boss, it may be time to Find Better.