Last week I was fortunate to listen to a very dynamic speaker, Major General Garrett Harencak of the United States Air Force. As you can imagine, he was speaking on the topic of leadership and had some great points to share.
This blog is not about leadership. It’s about being a happy, successful employee. Although you can be a leader in an employee role, I typically do not write about such topics. I’m not going to start now. I’m going to turn Major General Harencak’s comments to the employee view.
The primary leadership topic about which Major General Harencak was that being a jerk is not included in your job description. Why do certain leaders act like that is part of the requirement to perform their roles?
We need to remember that as employees also. Being a jerk is never acceptable; either from a leadership or servant position. It is not acceptable!
What happens though if your boss believes so much in being a jerk that he hand-wrote it into his job description? I’ve witnessed these people. So have you. What do you do?
I’ve taken the following steps in my career whenever I have come across people of this type:
Show respect – Although showing respect to someone who has not earned your respect is one of the toughest things to do, you must be the bigger person. True leaders become leaders because people follow them, not because of a job title. However, you will still have to deal with the “jerk” boss sometime in your career.
The Bible talks about heaping coals on his head. Others will tell you to “kill with kindness.” Whatever approach you take, you need to show respect. For example, I may not agree with the President’s opinions on a certain topic but I still respect the position.
Ask the “jerk” to stop – I had a ask one of my bosses in the past to stop using such profane language in front of me. If you are offended by something, you must speak up. If you don’t, nothing will happen. If you do, at least there is a chance a change will be made.
Stand up for yourself – Some “jerk” bosses like to see the impact they have on subordinates. In many cases, if you stand up for yourself, you will earn the respect of that person and will be treated differently going forward.
Tell a peer of your boss – While you may not have the authority or respect of your boss, a peer of your boss may. Tell that person of the difficulties you are having. If she is the kind of person you think she is, she will talk to the “jerk” boss and tell him how he is impacting other people. It is perfectly okay to ask her not to mention your name.
Wait it out – I haven’t been around a long time in the great scheme of things but I’ve been around long enough to see that jerks don’t survive forever. Eventually, either the jerk will leave or be let go. Be patient. Wait to see what happens.
It’s unfortunate that certain people add “jerk” to their job descriptions. You should add “respectful,” “caring” and “nice” to your job description. The nice guy always ends up winning in the end. Which guy do you want to be?