Do you wish you could understand your boss better? Dan and Alison answer your questions with the help of Mimi Nicklin, a business coach and the author of the new book Softening the Edge: Empathy: How humanity’s oldest leadership trait is changing our world. They talk through what to do when you have a boss who is unforgiving, who relies on you to cover their flaws, or who flip-flops between being your warm friend and cold supervisor.
From Alison and Dan’s reading list:
HBR: What to Do When You and Your Boss Aren’t Getting Along by Rebecca Knight — “Even the best office relationships hit a rut, but if it’s your relationship with your boss that’s suffering, work can be especially challenging. Maybe you’ve lost their trust, or you haven’t been seeing eye to eye lately, or maybe you’ve never really gotten along. Whatever the reason, how can you build a connection that’s more than ‘just OK’? What steps can you take to improve your interactions?”
Book: Softening the Edge: Empathy: How humanity’s oldest leadership trait is changing our world by Mimi Nicklin — “I recently asked one of our interns what the majority of his friends were doing and what their goals were. He replied that only two of them were going into corporate internships because the feeling today is that they can ‘do it better alone’. They don’t believe that senior players in organisations are able to, or interested in, trying to understand them, so why bother with corporate life?”
HBR: What Your Boss Really Wants from You by Robert M. Galford — “Even in these times of feverish attention to performance metrics, it’s not always clear what the boss wants or expects. Why? Maybe there’s a presumption that those expectations are already clear and they’re not. Or, maybe the employee is placing pressure on him- or herself to do better (‘I am a strong performer, but maybe that’s not enough.’). There’s a joint responsibility to ensure that expectations are well-articulated and understood. But that kind of effective give-and-take doesn’t happen with the frequency or the quality we wish it did.”
HBR: What to Do When Your Peer Becomes Your Boss by Amy Gallo — “Your colleague just got a promotion. Now, instead of being your peer, she’s your boss. Does your relationship need to change? Should you act differently, or expect her to treat you differently? In other words, how do you manage up to someone who’s just jumped a level above you and who might’ve been a friend?”