The #1 Reason People have Bad Bosses

Stress quote by Simon Sinek

One of the questions I get asked the most is, “Why are there so many bad bosses?”

The answer is very simple: There aren’t enough good bosses to fill all of the positions.

If there were enough good bosses to fill all of the positions, the bad bosses would be struggling to hold an entry-level position. Bad bosses would have to change (develop their character), or they would be changed (replaced).

However, this blog post isn’t about why there are so many bad bosses. It’s about the #1 reason people have a bad boss. Not everyone has a bad boss, but many go to work day after day and deal with a bad boss.

Why do people do that? They obviously don’t like doing it. Most of them moan, groan, and complain endlessly about “having to” work for a bad boss.

If you have a bad boss, the reason is probably not what you’re expecting. You may not even want to hear it. But, you absolutely need to hear it. And, you need to act on it, or nothing will change.

The #1 and only reason people have bad bosses is because they choose to work for them day after day.

Of course, those with bad bosses don’t blame themselves for “having to” work for a bad boss. You won’t hear them say I work for a bad boss because I choose to do it day after day. That would require them to accept responsibility and take action if they want to change their circumstances.

Instead, you will hear them blaming the bad boss for being who they are and acting the way they do. And, those with bad bosses will find others that feel the same way and are happy to join them in the blame game. They don’t accept responsibility for their choice to work for a bad boss day after day. They transfer it. When they do, they guarantee things will most likely remain the same.

I agree it’s the fault of the boss that they are the way they are and act the way they do. However, that has nothing to do with why someone works for a bad boss. These are two very different issues. One you can’t control. One you can.

Choosing to work for a bad boss has nothing to do with the bad boss and everything to do with you.

Many years ago, before I figured this out, I worked for bad bosses. But, once I figured this out and started developing myself, I began to create options for myself. Having more options means having more choices. One of those choices was to fire the bad boss and hire a new one.

What do I mean? I mean transfer to a different department or facility within the same organization or leave the company completely. Those who blame the bad boss don’t have this option. That’s why they blame the bad boss. However, a bad boss isn’t responsible for creating your options. You are.

I haven’t worked for a bad boss in years, and I will never work for a bad boss again. However, there are many that I worked alongside that blamed the bad bosses I used to have. Guess what? They are still working for the bad bosses. And, they are still blaming them. Therefore, nothing has changed for them.

There’s only one person that is truly responsible for your circumstances: YOU.

If you’re tired of working for a bad boss, what do you do? Quit! It’s really that simple for those with options.

If you can’t quit, why not? Why don’t you have options? What are you doing with all of that time between the time you get off work and the time you back to work?You decide if you pick up a beer or a book. You decide if you go to the beach or to a class.

You decide if you invest your time developing yourself and creating a better future or if you waste your time escaping from the life you’ve already created.

The bad boss doesn’t determine what you do when you’re not at work. However, what you do when you’re not at work has the biggest impact on where you work, what type of work you do, when you work, what you get paid to work, and most importantly, who (which type of boss) pays you to work.

In my early days working for bad bosses, I decided to go to college so I could become a “better” boss and get a better job working with a better boss. Was it hard? Absolutely! Did it work? Absolutely!

But, I didn’t stop with a four year degree that took me nearly eight years to get. I started reading process improvement books daily between 2005-2008. Then, in 2008, I began reading leadership books daily and will never stop. Everything in my life has changed as a result. Also as a result, I’m helping great leaders develop their people. I’m also helping people with bad bosses develop themselves, so they can walk away and create a better future for themselves like I did.

If you’re a part of the entry-level, blue-collar workforce, I’ve just written a book, Blue-Collar Leadership: Leading from the Front Lines, that the bad boss will not want you to read. It will actually benefit anyone with a bad boss regardless of the type work you do and regardless of your position. If you read it, learn the principles, and apply them, I can assure you that everything will change for you.

You will get noticed for the right reasons by the right people. You will get promoted for the right reasons. And most importantly, you will have options you’ve never had. And, you can say goodbye to any bad boss you encounter.

Stop blaming bad bosses for your circumstances. Take responsibility, develop yourself, and create options for yourself. If you don’t, no one else will. You must choose to make it happen.

Why You, and Everyone in Your Organization, Should Think and Act Like a Business Owner

Leadership Speaker Mack Story

Note: The principle of thinking and acting like a business owner applies to everyone in any industry at any level. And, it’s the secret to success!

The following is an excerpt (Chapter 7) from my newest book, Blue-Collar Leadership: Leading from the Front Lines. Click here to order the book. 

This entire book was written as a resource for developing the entry-level, front line, blue-collar workforce. In it, I help them understand why they should lead themselves well and how to lead themselves well. My goal is to leaders help their team members think and act like a business owner. When they do, everybody wins.

Chapter 7

THE SECRET TO YOUR SUCCESS

YOU GET PAID BY OTHERS, BUT YOU WORK FOR YOURSELF

When you take charge of your life, there is no longer need to ask permission of other people or society at large. When you ask permission, you give someone veto power over your life. ~ Albert F. Geoffrey

I’m about to share the inside scoop with you: the secret to success. As you read this chapter, keep the chapter on common sense in mind. Actually, you need to keep that chapter in mind throughout this book, but especially here because uncommon sense is needed to get the full value out of what I’ll be sharing.

Who do you work for? Think about it. Understanding your answer matters, and it matters a lot.

When I’m speaking to groups on leadership, one of the questions I often ask them is, “Who do you work for?” Immediately, people begin to shout the name of the company where they work. Some with great pride and others simply because they think that’s what I want to hear.

It’s always instantly clear to me they haven’t thought much about the answer to the question or the impact the answer has on their choices day in and day out while they’re at work.

I believe this will most likely be an eye-opening and key chapter for you as you begin to see things differently.

Once the shouting dies down, I follow up saying, I didn’t ask, who is paying you to work? I asked, who are you working for?”

Someone else is always paying you to work, but you are always working for yourself. This is true whether you own your own company or whether you work at someone else’s company. If you weren’t working for yourself, you wouldn’t expect to be paid.

For some reason, it’s easy for others to see that people who own their own business are working for themselves, but so is everyone else when you really think about it. And, you really need to think about it.

When people understand they are working for themselves, they have a different mindset. They see themselves as the business owner and everyone else as customers, potential customers, and/or as potential advertisers telling others about their business through word of mouth referrals. Everyone agrees word of mouth is the best type of advertisement.

They expect to serve the customers who are paying them to work, not be served by them. They care what customers think about doing business with them. They intentionally do a better job because they know it matters. They care how they make their customers feel because their customers will determine how well their business does in the future. Will it grow or will it slow? They want more business and as much positive word of mouth advertising as possible. Who wouldn’t?

You most likely work at a company owned by someone else. However, if you accept a payment for the service/labor you provide, you are definitely working for yourself. Let that sink in for a minute.

You are in business for yourself because you are working for yourself. Your product is physical labor mixed with shared ideas.

For many, this is an odd way to look at yourself and your job. No matter how odd it may seem, if you apply uncommon sense, it is crystal clear. As a result of this new discovery, your view on everything about your job and those you work with should be reconsidered. What needs to change?

The lessons in this book will now be even more important. That’s a small example of how being aligned with the proper reality can change your thoughts. When your thoughts are aligned with reality, you are much better positioned to build stronger relationships and achieve amazing success.

If the light bulb hasn’t gone off yet, let me help you. What this means is everyone you interact with at work is either a customer, potential customer, and/or a potential advertiser spreading either positive or negative word of mouth advertisement about your business: YOU.

To generate good profit, it’s critical not only to understand but to anticipate what customers value, their expectations, measures, incentives, needs, alternatives, and decision-making processes. ~ Charles G. Koch

This also means your boss is your #1 customer. He or she can help you or hurt you the most.

Do you treat them as your #1 customer? If you do, things are probably pretty good for you. If you don’t, anyone with common sense will know things may not be so good.

What type of word of mouth advertising is being spread about your business (YOU) throughout the organization by your boss and all of the other people you work and interact with?

All of those people will talk to others about you and how you serve them as customers, just as you do to others. When they are interacting with you for any reason, they are your customer. Just like when a business owner provides complimentary service and hopes the non-paying customer will, at a minimum, give positive word of mouth advertisement, this is what happens every day on the front lines. People talk about other people.

How you serve your paying and non-paying customers has a major impact on your promotions, your raises, your influence, your options, your growth in the company or your termination from the company, and ultimately, your future working in other departments or even other companies.

How you operate, your business, matters. And, it matters a lot!

The key to moving beyond average is doing what exceptional people do, not wanting what they have. ~ Mack Story