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Who is your boss ?
I know: Kipalog readers are mostly employees... They usually deal and live with some bosses who are either "sympathic and bearable" or simply "hateful and despiteful". With bearable bosses you can live somehow in peace. Despiteful bosses are usually evil. A "satanic" boss can make your life a living hell. He chicanes you. He bean-counts your mistakes, then he starts to torture you with the counted beans or some meaningless trifle. Indeed, a living hell on your workplace with such an evil boss.
A consolation: the bosses themselves live steadily in the hell, too: under hellish stress and enormous pressure. Pressure from all sites: bad customers, dropping market shares , unreliable contractors, long delivery timeline, lazy staff, etc. The bosses live in danger of heart attack, of stroke (brain attack or apoplexy), of nervous tension, of being burnt out, etc. They die percentally younger than their subordinates (staff).
What to do in case that you have unfortunately to live under the realm of such a monstrous ogre ? Sun zi, the famous warlord and strategist of ancient China, said:
If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; ... if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
Knowing the enemy is the key to win the war. A war against your "satanic" bosses and your "evil" colleagues: big boss, small boss, bonsai boss, Project boss, etc. At first let me tell you how one becomes boss (and that include me myself) and what is to be a boss.
A boss is a (wo)man whose ego is paramount and beyond belief:
- Everything that just slightly touches his/her ego drives him/her mad. (S)He becomes insulted and looks for every chance to retaliate.
- Everything that just slightly hurts his/her interest makes him/her furious. (S)He becomes aggressive and beats mercilessly back.
- Everything that just seems to be advantageous prompts him/her to be greedy. (S)He will grasp it as if it was his/her birthright.
- Everything that could shake his/her position makes him/her vengeful. (S)He will take every change to steamroll you.
In short: a boss is usually one of these types: the Narcissist, the Megalomaniac, the Whacko, the Dictator and the Psychopath. Of course, the "vibes" is differently. Some emit so charmingly (beautified as "charisma"), some beam their vibes menacingly (respected as the "leader"), some stay invisible (feared as "the (wo)man in the shadow"), some look boyish and gleeful (admired as the "gentleman").
If you have to live under the realm of one of them you should know how to parry and that decides whether your life in a living hell is bearable or deplorable. I show you some tricks, but it's you who have to be inventive and creative to react and to parry.
The Narcissist believes that (s)he him/herself is very special. (S)He is in love with him/herself and believes that (s)he is predestined to be loved by everyone around him/her. Money and prestige are his or hers. Hence (s)he always takes more than the rest. A narcissistic boss is always greedier than the rest, terribly arrogant, but incapable for any human compassion. In other words: (s)he has complex about him/herself and is steady in search for recognition and admiration.
Knowing that you should avoid to do anything that questions "his/her grandiosity". Even a "constructive criticism" is for a narcissist very destructive. If you have a narcissist as a boss you're damned to toil on every detail and never get a "compliment" for your work. And if (s)he's the CEO or owner of the shop and you love your job then you'd read Love it, Change it or Leave it.
The Megalomaniac is a hyperactive and intelligent (wo)man. Full of creativity, full of Visions and unshakable overconfidence. At the first glance, (s)he's not bad. But his/her "overconfidence" and his/her hyperactivity make him/her proof against any suggestion or argument. (S)He believes in his/her ingenuity.
Knowing that you should be careful with your "arguments" and "suggestion". Try to be invisible as a non-descript person. Or you should look for another company if you want to be yourself and you love your job.
The Whacko (or the rabid) is erratic and unpredictable. His/her temper shifts faster than the weather. Someday (s)he's very cooperative, responsive and friendly, another day (s)he's bullying, aggressive and fiendish. It's always dangerous to deal or work with a whacko because you never know what's going on in his/her head.
Knowing that you should keep calm, rather "consent with him/her" more than necessary. If it's possible you should communicate with him/her via written reports or emails. Avoid to communicate or argue directly with him/her.
The Dictator is usually a dumb person with tremendous inferior complex. (S)He compensates his/her lack of intellect and his/her inferiority with imperial bossiness. (S)He never justifies his/her action or his/her decision and immemsely loves grovelers. Anyone who dares to contradict him/her or is frank must suffer humiliation and disgrace. (S)He's the boss. Basta!
Knowing that you shouldn't contradict him/her, try to be calm and carefully formulate your words. Don't grovel. It could be a backfire among your colleagues as "the whistleblower" or "the backstabber".
The Psychopath (or the Paranoid) is the most dangerous type. (S)He's weirder and more unpredictable than the Whacko. Psychopathic boss behaves very normally, (s)he could be very "amicable" and "gracious". What (s)he does or thinks is unforeseeable, schizophrenic and sometimes very contradictory. The only visible "clues" of a psychopathic boss are his/her "control mania", his/her "perfectionism" and his/her "mistrust".
Knowing that you should avoid to be often with him/her (due to his/her mistrust). Keep distance (due to his/her control mania) and be brief and prudent with your words (due to his/her perfectionism).
Anyway, life is never a free lunch (click HERE to learn more of the No-Free-Lunch Theorem). There ain't perfect boss and you have to live with him/her. Just follow what Sun zi advised, then you'll have peaceful working days.
For your Brain training: try to figure out what kind of boss type of the following persons is:
- Bill Gates
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Jeff Bezos
- Jack Ma
- Warren Buffett
- Elon Musk
By the way, we all belong to one of these types, too: the Narcissist, the Megalomaniac, the Whacko, the Dictator and the Psychopath. The degree of our "vibes" makes us out who would be whom: big boss, small boss, bonsai boss Project boss, employee or gofer...