Help! I Am Trapped Under a Diminisher.
By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
As much as we would love to think every boss is a Multiplier, it’s simply not true. In fact, most bosses are either blind diminishers or accidental diminishers. Not because they have chosen to be that way, but simply due to a lack of self-awareness. They have low EQ (Emotional Intelligence) and are not even aware of it. Not only have I, at times, fit that description as a boss, but I have worked for several that could also be described that way. Maybe it comes out in meetings when rather than discussing possible solutions, the boss hands down final decisions. Perhaps they are the most prevalent type of Diminisher, micro managers. Whatever behaviors your boss exhibits, there is hope.
Let’s take a look at what each one of us can do.
Change You – I think the first thing we need to do is reshape the image we have of our boss. That’s right, we need to change how we view things. Say goodbye to the victim mentality and take control of your own thought life. Begin to look for your boss’s strengths. What are their gifted areas and what can you learn from them? This slight shift in your thinking will begin to change your own view and mindset of the situation. Choose a positive stance and you will begin to leverage your boss’s strengths to accelerate your own growth.
Break the Death Spiral – Believe it or not, you can actually lead your boss. Begin by turning the volume down. Learn how they typically act and realize that it’s not about you. It’s simply their way of acting. You need to learn what to ignore and then engage in an appropriate way. Instead of constantly trying to win, work to stay in the game. If your boss hands you a project filled with his or her ideas leaving little room for you to exercise any creativity, thank him or her and ask a few clarifying questions. Once you have the answers, ask if you can think about it for a day or so and come back with some ideas of your own. This allows the Diminisher to realize you have taken it seriously while allowing you to express your ideas when the Diminisher is less entrenched in their own ideas.
It’s not easy but it is possible to Multiply up to your boss. In fact, not only can you Multiply up to your boss but also across to your peers and down to your direct reports. You can become an agent of culture change, a magnet for genius, and perhaps the greatest asset your company has.
If you would like to hear more on this topic, join Marisa and me on The Next Page podcast as we discuss in depth how we don’t have to just survive while working for a Diminisher—it is very possible to thrive. Are you up for the challenge?