18 February 2015

The Toxic Boss

What a difference it makes when you work for a boss who has your back. When I was a young mechanic in the army, I had the good fortune to work for a man who became the benchmark for other supervisors. Vic was not only fair, he was a gentleman, and he had a zero tolerance policy when it came to allowing anyone to bully the women. In the early 80s, there weren’t very many of us women in non-traditional trades in the army. They say the first one through the wall is usually the bloodiest and the truth was that we had a tough time in many areas. Vic had a way of dealing with people who broke the rules that let you know that you were going to be just fine. I was blessed to work for this man.

Because of this early experience, I was a little shocked when, later on, I had a boss that didn’t quite measure up. I worked for a man who was scared to confront a bully and was so two-faced that he had no one’s back except his own. What a difference it makes when you’re looked after in the work place. You can go to work, do your job and thrive. This new situation made it a chore to go to work and really impacted morale in the workplace.

When no one has your back, you need to develop some pretty amazing survival skills. With a weak boss, you’re on your own to protect yourself against bullies and people who like to abuse you. If my first encounter had been with this terrible supervisor, I would not have remained in the trade long enough to become a journeyman.

Vic ended up in a leadership role because he was not only a great technician, but he had great leadership skills. Unfortunately this is not always the case. There are all kinds of bosses out there with terrible skills when it comes to managing people. I hope you end up with the best and, if you don’t, learn some survival skills.

Good bosses:
  • Stand up for you
  • Set standards in the workplace that prohibit abuse

photo by Lottery Monkey/Flickr

Suspenders: You'll be Needin’ Them Now

If you intend to achieve results in your life, you have to gain control of your mind. During a recent workshop, I was passionately sharing with the class how important it is to suspend your disbelief when it comes to achieving goals. When the class was over, a student who had been sitting quietly at the back of the class made her way to the front. She wanted to know more about this concept of suspending disbelief. Actually she thought it wouldn't really work for her because no matter what she believed, she didn't have the resources right now to accomplish big change.

I loved where this conversation was heading. Achieving goals may require more resources, but the first ingredient is the right mindset. The resources will come. Dare to dream in technicolour and add a pinch of emotion and... voila!!! That is the recipe.

“So, that’s it?” she asked. I thought for a minute and, even though the explanation was a little oversimplified, the truth was that beliefs aren't the only things that need to be suspended. In a 'crabs in a bucket' society, it is often essential that you suspend your contact with some of those friends who work hard to undermine you at every turn. Those naysayers who will speak as loud as the little voice in your head to ensure that you never get ahead.

The mind is a powerful tool when it comes to accomplishing anything in life. For a while it got out of control with my 'poor me' and not being able to focus. I had to train my mind to dream a new dream and it is tough when your reality is not one that inspires hope.

So, suspend your disbelief for a second and dream a big dream. Surround yourself with folks who support you. Make sure there is alignment between your actions and your dreams. Once you develop the right mindset, you will see it as a tool you will use in all areas of your personal and professional life. Change your mind first and then your life will begin to change.

photo by Rrrrred / Flickr