I’ve been fortunate for the vast majority of my career to work for and with leaders who were Authentic Leaders. They cared for their people, they were smart and they knew what they were doing.
Except maybe for one guy. He was my first boss out of college. He didn’t seem to have a very high EQ and his IQ was virtually nonexistent. (Or so it appeared to me) He was functionally illiterate, his communication skills were subpar to say the least.
But he was my boss. My boss! I had a brand new Engineering Degree and had been anointed by non other than myself as one of the smartest people on the planet. It was an impossible situation…I was a genius and my boss was not. So I set about fixing that injustice.
I decided, at least subconsciously, to be a “difficult” employee. Difficult might be a bit of an understatement…I was determined to make his life a living hell. I mean how hard could it be for a genius such as myself to chase this knucklehead out of the company. My goal was to do whatever was necessary for this guy to no longer be my boss.
I’ll spare you the ugly details of what I determined “difficult” to be. But he and the company we worked for had incredible staying power. Despite my best efforts they kept trying to find a way for us to work together and it took me two long years to finally reach my goal.
Apparently his 20 plus years at a family run company meant something to the owners. They also valued the skills I bought with me.
It would be several years after I quit before I’d realize what a terrible employee I was. It would be a few more years before I’d realize what a terrible person I was to that boss.
I’d made the horrible mistake of not seeing the value in someone different than me. My failure to see the value in another human being caused ME great frustration. I took that out on both my boss and any coworkers who happened to agree with him.
That the man had certain “gaps” was never in doubt. My mistake was in thinking it was my job to expose those gaps. In reality part of my job was actually to fill those gaps.
He was not technically proficient, I was. It was my job to help him use his strengths by filling his technical gaps. I failed at that…miserably.
When your leader isn’t all that you think they should be don’t allow yourself to be frustrated. Don’t focus on their weaknesses, focus on their strengths. I can guarantee you that somebody saw those strengths and that’s why they are in the position that are in. Help them use their strengths by filling whatever gaps you can.
Whether it’s in your job description or not you should understand that one of your roles is to support the other people in your organization. Especially those above you on the organizational chart. The only exception to that “rule” is if that support would include doing something illegal or unethical.
When you’re feeling frustrated by someone above you in your organization, or even someone at your level, remember this truth: being frustrated prevents you from using YOUR strengths. Being frustrated hurts YOU more than anyone else.
So don’t focus on the things that frustrate you, focus instead on the things you can control. One of those things is helping the people who frustrate you to not frustrate you. That’s a whole lot more productive than constantly complaining.