September 30, 2020

When You Know More Than Your Boss

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
Know what is most important to you in your career as well as what changes you need to make. Melissa guides you step by step with this proven framework she uses with her clients.
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What happens when you know more than your boss? You want to work for a great boss – someone you can respect and learn from. What if your manager isn’t good at their job? What if you could do their job better?

How do you get what you need without making your boss look bad?

This episode will help you repair the relationship, help your boss and help you, and stop the frustration and stress that comes with a boss you think isn’t as qualified as they should be.

What You’ll Learn

A 3 Step Approach to navigate a challenging boss

What to do if your boss is preventing you from growing your career

How to get any boss on your side

The one thing to never do, to make sure your reputation and career stays on track

Featured in This Episode

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Career Women Becoming Fearless Podcast

When you know more than your boss

Hello! Well this has been a fun week.  My birthday was a couple days ago.  I turned 40 which was super fun.  We had a quiet celebration at home.  I turned 40 which people who haven’t known me long were surprised to know.

It brought up some thoughts I had about my corporate life.  Assumptions coworkers and leaders make based on appearance, and my fair share of bosses that made it difficult for me to go to work sometimes.

Before we dive right into this topic, I have to share that for my birthday I got Midnight Sun – part of the Twilight series.  Ok, I know I just said I’m 40 and this is as young adult novel, but I loved the twilight books and movies so the slightly younger version of myself squealed when I learned a new book was being added.

It’s not jokes though, this book is 600+ pages so I am looking forward to sitting down someday soon to dive in.  Those of you who get into this kind of thing, you know who you are, you can be happy about this with me!  If you pick up a copy, let’s connect and chat.  

OK – back to business.  What happens when you know more than your boss.  

This can be a stressful topic.  In 2019, the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health published a study that the number of American workers who identify as extremely stressed at work was nearly 40%

Your boss greatly affects your feelings of stress at work and when you know more than your boss – yikes.  It can make the daily activities difficult and just add to your already stressed mindset.

You want to work for a great boss – someone you can respect and learn from.  What if your manager isn’t good at their job?

What if you could do their job better?

How do you get what you need without making your boss look bad?

Bad Bosses can seem incompetent, demoralizing, and make your job harder.

I was having brunch with a friend, this was pre-COVID, and she was venting that her boss just didn’t understand her job and made awful decisions that made her job harder and she thought was jeopardizing the entire department and even company.

Bottom line – she thought she needed to change jobs.  She didn’t think it made sense to report to someone who was less qualified than her and, in some ways, he should be reporting to her.

I don’t think she’s alone.  I have had my own share of reporting to bosses, men in particular, that were great sales people but not great bosses.

In some cases, they were detrimental to my career.

Assuming your boss isn’t violating a law or policy, resisting your boss is sabotaging your own success.

Believe me, I’ve been there.  I’ve tried every scenario only to find myself frustrated at the end of the day.

When decisions were made without my consultation.

When my expertise, that was unique to the group, was not consulted.

When other people on the team were sought out, that didn’t have my expertise.

It sucked.

Before you throw in the towel, demand a new boss, or move on let’s get to the bottom line.

Because the reality is – you may not like your boss where you’re at, but you can’t control who your boss is for the rest of your career.

Your manager is just your manager – they are in charge of people, but not the sum of you. They won’t know everything each of you knows.  So, let’s just get that out of the way.

Your manager has different responsibilities than you and what if you thought they were doing the best they can?  How could that serve you?

I’m going to provide you 3 ways to approach this issue.

Beware of your bias

It’s natural to be self-biased.

It’s what your brain does.

It’s actually impossible to not be self-centered because all of your opinions and your perspective are based on your life.

What are your bosses’ strengths?

Why was your boss put into their position?

What do they bring to the table that you don’t?

How can you leverage them?

If you really believe you are smarter and more qualified – think twice before escalating.  It rarely works, and you put yourself at risk.

In most cases your boss has the ear of the higher ups more than you do and has a trust, like factor – after all they were chosen for their job.

You are bringing up your thoughts on their lack of qualification can reflect badly on you.

Where you don’t seem like a team player, you’re self-centered, you’re not respectful.

I know – it shouldn’t be that way but it’s human nature and it’s just what happens.

And once your boss knows you mentioned something – your relationship will be fractured, and it will be hard to recover.

Identify gaps and fill them – help your boss be better

If your boss isn’t fitting the bill, how can you help them?

How can you get your boss on your side?

You don’t need to do their job for them, but it doesn’t serve you or the company for them to fail.  If you can find a way to help your boss be the best they can, it helps everyone.

If your work is being used to cover up deficiencies of your boss or again against a policy or law, of course get HR involved.

Find something to connect on and that you can respect

It’s natural to go to the negative.

Your brain is going to seek evidence that supports your thoughts – good or bad.

How can you find something you have in common you can connect on?

What can you find that you can respect?

This is only going to benefit you in the long run.  I know they might get on your nerves, but how can you make your life and their life better?

How might it actually make your day better?

Think about this – journal about it – do what you have to do.

Get a mentor 

If your boss isn’t giving you the coaching you need, if you’re not growing with them, get a mentor.  Mentors can help you learn, give your insight into your blind spots, help expand your network and are proven to advance your development and growth.

Mentees are promoted 5x more often than those without mentors

There are numerous benefits of this – I am going to do a separate episode on mentorship in the future.

I personally had mentors in my corporate life, I was a mentor.  It is a wonderful thing.  I started using mentors when I found myself reporting to someone who knew nothing about my work.  Having a mentor not only helped me look at my work differently and learn more about my expertise, but it helped build my network and inadvertently advance my career.

You can also use this person to help you navigate tough days and circumstances at work.  They may just help save you from completely giving up.

The 3 approaches – be aware of your bias, help your boss be better, get a mentor

Think about these approaches and which would work best for you – maybe they all would.

How can you apply these today? This week?

 I would love to hear how you do with this.  I invite you to join the Becoming Fearless Facebook community, so you can share your insights and get support you need that will help you with your career.  To join, check the link in the show notes or search for Becoming Fearless on Facebook.

That’s all friends.  Have a wonderful rest of your week.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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