She had been talking to the boss for what it seemed like weeks. Those weeks turned into months and before you knew it, those months turned into a year. Everyone knew how good she was. Fiona was top brass and got things done. She was respected, well liked, and outperformed. She needed flexibility and balance but wanted to continue to perform well and get the much-deserved promotion and reward for her accomplishments. She had it all right? Not quite. She needed support. She needed her leader to listen.
Does this sound like you or any great woman you know?
The fact is I see this coming on more and more. And it's got to stop. Good people (men and women) don't leave bad companies. They leave lousy leaders. Here's how you can spot one. The key is knowing them, managing around them or never signing up to work for one in the first place!
A few types I've come across include ...
- The Indecisive Boss- You know this type. He/she can't make a decision on where to have lunch much less when the department meeting is or what you need to do to prepare yourself for it. Simple decisions become large complicated matters. Before you know it, you can't get an answer, so you create your OWN parachute.
- The M&M Boss - M&Ms are micromanagers. This kind of boss has to have all of the details of your whereabouts, lacks trust in everything you do, and wants to do things for you. After all, he/she is BETTER than you! M&Ms need and crave control. They don't understand that leadership is about letting people learn with a net rather than to be baited, reeled in, filleted and grilled on a BBQ pit. Most M&Ms take up space on the payroll and form what I call the "clay layer" in big organizations. They say NO to everything because they fear ...everything.
- The Passive Aggressive AKA We-Shall-See-Who-Is-Boss, Boss - These are dangerous types. They can't tell you anything straight to your face but when it's time for reviews, you've taken on a new persona. They don't know how to deal with people so they hide, go around, and then when you don't do something they like, they find ways to stick it to you. Ouch. Move away fast.
- The Rollercoaster Boss - These kinds of bosses move with the wind. They are up, down, and you never know where they are going. They spin people in 1000s of directions. They go with the popular vote and hide behind making tough decisions. They also have no sense of vision or purpose. They like to be best friends with everyone and don't have an opinion of their own. And for them...it's more about ticking a box than thinking outside of one.
- The Insecure Boss - There are plenty men and women out there who are insecure but I want to talk about women right now. When you have an insecure female boss, it can be super tricky. Especially you smarties. You know who you are! Oh, please tread lightly. Make it about them. Boost them up. All a woman needs is a little bit of courage. But if she wants to compete... make sure she feels that she is winning. It's not worth it. Women can be our own worst enemies. You want to work for women who complete, not compete.
How can I learn to avoid these types?
- Volunteer outside work. In larger companies, there are usually groups you can join, but I also find external organizations appealing because they open your mind to different types of people. There were many organizations I did work for where I had a "boss" or a "peer" in the group but they didn't impact my bonus. These organizations served as leadership labs for me to try on skills. And in volunteering is this allows you the opportunity to connect and build a network and your influence while practicing "drama" in a safe space.
- Ask loads of questions. Most firms do behavioral interviewing. Why not provide a little of the same back with your new boss? My favorites are "What are your strengths and weaknesses as a leader?" "Can you tell me about how failure has helped you grow and your teams grow?" I have a whole list of questions I can share with you. Connect with me offline.
- Use social media to do your research. Embrace the web and google the new boss. Peruse his/her network on LinkedIn. Ask around. The best tools on the earth today are right at your finger tips. Use them.
So what did Fiona do? She left. She walked out onto the ledge and leaped. (Any good leader knows you don't put people there in the first place!)
But ladies ...a word of caution... men leave too. They just go sooner. Our biggest problem is knowing when to let go...
Does any of this resonate? I'd love to hear your stories!