Tips for Dealing with an Imperfect Boss

by Jennifer Miller on April 14, 2014

in Book Review, Leadership

Imperfect Boss book coverIt’s easy to toss off “nobody’s perfect” in response to someone’s shortcomings when the stakes are small. But, in an important relationship such as the one we have with our boss, we are far less likely to be so benevolent. In truth, nobody is “perfect” and this goes for those with leadership titles as well. As Karin Hurt, author of the forthcoming book Overcoming an Imperfect Boss: A Practical Guide to Building a Better Relationship With Your Boss writes,

The perfect boss is as elusive as the ideal mate. And yet, we’re frustrated when our leaders fall short of our impossible expectations.

Karin, writer of the award-winning Let’s Grow Leaders blog and an executive with experience leading the human resources, sales and customer service functions in large companies, presents a unique twist on leadership in her book. She starts with the premise that all “bosses” are flawed (in that we’re all human, after all) and then proceeds to show us how their followers can still build a thriving, productive relationship with any type of leader (yes, even the “jerks’!)

Throughout this succinctly written book, you’ll find very specific advice and tools to help your boss “become the boss you need.” As a bonus, if you’re in a leadership role, you can also use this book to reflect on how to “become the boss you wish you had.”

The bulk of the book’s content is contained in chapter three, in which Karin outlines 10 “tough scenes”—typical scenarios the reader may encounter when dealing with their boss—including:

  • How to persuade your boss
  • How to deliver bad news (using the very cleverly named “D.A.R.N.” acronym)
  • Building trust with your boss
  • Working for a disengaged boss
  • Dealing with a moody boss

Each scene contains advice from Karin on how to proceed, plus additional tips for navigating that tricky situation.

Another section of the book that I particularly enjoyed was chapter six: “Becoming the Boss You Wish You Had”, in which the reader completes a simple, yet powerful matrix that leads the reader to imagine their ideal boss, as well considering as the reader’s unique leadership style.

In the book, Karin offers advice for communicating with executives: write in bullet points and summaries.  Karin followed her own advice when writing this book: it’s a super-quick read, with absolutely no filler. Every page gets directly to the point and then moves on. In fact, there are times when I would have liked to read a bit more of Karin’s wisdom and philosophy on the page, similar to the very thought-provoking blog posts she writes. Perhaps I’ll get my wish; in the Acknowledgements section of this book, Karin alludes to a second book that she’s writing.

If Karin’s follow-up book is as useful and easy-to-read as this one, you can look forward to another book review here on The People Equation.

 

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book for the purposes of writing this review. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you click the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. This does not increase the cost of your purchase and I only refer to products that I think will benefit you, the reader.

{ 3 comments }

Tips for Seeing What’s Working, Strong and Possible

April 10, 2014

I consider myself an optimist. Yet, all around me, there are exhortations to “problem solve” and “fix what’s not working.” Admittedly, it seeps into my psyche; I see what’s lacking more quickly than what’s working. Am I really the optimist I claim to be? That’s why I jumped at the chance to interview Dr. Kathryn […]

Read the full article →

All Leaders Shape Their Company’s Cultural Mindset

April 7, 2014

When it comes to creating a thriving organizational culture a key bellwether is the tone that company leaders set. Leaders, take heed: your actions are contagious, whether that tone is positive or negative. “For better or worse”, leaders’ behaviors shape organizational culture, says psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kathy Cramer. And, depending on how they […]

Read the full article →

Time to Put Leadership Back into the People Equation

April 3, 2014

Confession time: I’ve always been sort of “meh” about business fables as a literary device. So it may seem strange to you that there is a photo of me with New York Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni (arguably the most successful author writing in this genre) here on my blog. Pat (as his team calls […]

Read the full article →

The Path to Leadership—It’s Rarely What You Plan

March 31, 2014

  What do a peace activist from Northern Ireland, a former sex trafficking victim, a Somalian parliamentarian and an Israeli teacher have in common? All are women who stepped forward to ignite astonishing change in their respective parts of the world. And, in their moment of choice to speak up, they had no formal leadership […]

Read the full article →

People Equation Named Top HR Blog in Management Category

March 27, 2014

  It’s always an honor when someone recognizes your work. Earlier this week, Bamboo HR, a provider of an online Human Resources Information System (“HRIS” for those of us in the biz) service recognized The People Equation in their Top HR Blogs 2014 Edition. Thanks goes to Bamboo HR for the nod. Even more importantly, […]

Read the full article →

HR Answers Articles | Gamification for HR, Losing Top Talent and More

March 25, 2014

This month’s writing for my HR Answers.com page covered a wide range of topics: talent management, emerging technologies and their implication for Human Resources, leadership mindsets and ways that companies “scare off” potential employees with bad recruiting practices.   As always, I’m open to suggestions for new topics – just let me know in the […]

Read the full article →

Leaders—Call Forth Your Courageous Nature

March 20, 2014

Editor’s note: this is a guest post from Dr. Kathy Cramer, author of the book Lead Positive, which came out this week. I’m delighted to help Kathy spread the word about how leaders can use “asset based thinking” to achieve greater results for their teams and organizations. Leaders know that it is important to be […]

Read the full article →

11 Signs That a Leader is “Approachable”

March 17, 2014

Last week I crowd-sourced ideas for my post Approachable Leadership—Be a Beacon, Not an Island. The comments kept flowing in, long after I’d wrapped up writing. My friends and colleagues are an amazing source of wisdom.  Here is a summary of their comments (used with permission.)   The question was simple: What makes a leader […]

Read the full article →

Approachable Leadership — Be a Beacon Not an Island

March 13, 2014

As a leader, how do you let your team know you are available to them? Sure, you’ve probably said (more times than you can count) “I’m here if you need me.”  That’s a good start, but is there a way you could visually send that message? Mr. People Equation sent me a New York Times […]

Read the full article →