- Education & Events
Be careful before trying to sabotage the boss
I’ve seen people who have tried to sabotage their bosses. Sometimes it’s because they have lost respect for them, knowing all the inner dealings and want their exec to get his due. Other times it’s because they’ve covered for them so often, they have an inflated sense of self worth and underestimate what the job entails, thinking they could step into their manager’s shoes and take over with no problem at all. Or sometimes, it’s just that they don’t like their superior or the way they’ve been treated by him and feel that a coup is in order. Well…let me tell you, the outcome is seldom what you imagine.
No one trusts a traitor. You may appear to be in the know sneaking behind his back and telling tales out of school, and undoubtedly, you’ll get people to listen…and spread the rumors. But be assured that the rumor trail will lead right back to you, no matter how others promise to keep their lips zipped. And as far as ever getting any confidential info from the rumor mongerers you’ve enlisted to keep the secret – forget it. You have just ruined any reputation you had…well…not exactly. You have actually enhanced your reputation – as an untrustworthy mutineer who can’t be trusted to keep her boss’s back.
There could be guilt by association. People may start to think that if this guy (or gal) is as bad as you say and does all the terrible things you cite, if you work for him, then you must be as awful as he is. Anyone on the up-and-up (a true professional) would refuse to be a party to such underhandedness and would walk away from it – look for another job. By gossiping about the awfulness of the situation, you are actually validating that you aren’t above it all, as you indicate, but rather than you are a compatriot in some way. After all, birds of a feather…
One change opens the door to more changes. Let’s take this thought to its conclusion. Your boss somehow disgusts you. You don’t like him and you are worthy of someone far better. Higher ups recognize the error of their ways – thanks to your keen insights – and decide to fire him…right there on the spot…fire his sorry behind.
Be careful what you wish for. You may be so sure that the next person you work for will be smarter, keener (i.e. recognizing your true value), more understanding. But don’t count on it. The reason most of us stay in bad situations longer than we’d like and work to turn things around is partially due to an optimistic attitude and the challenge of being a positive change agent and fear of the unknown. For most of us less-than-avid-risk-takers who are in the know, we understand that, just like playing Black Jack in Las Vegas, the odds are against getting a perfect outcome. Such a shoddy department surely calls for someone who can crack the whip and get things quickly in shape. Where things were once lax, they now will be circumscribed. To get things in order, the situation requires a firm hand. There won’t be any time to meet with colleagues at the water cooler and swap gossip. Nosirree. The pendulum will swing back as far in the other direction as it did when the former manager lost control. And the first to go? The people you can’t trust, who betrayed the former regime. What’s true in politics is true for any coup that came from the underlings. The division will improve, but not likely the way you had envisioned it.
Never underestimate the power of position. It can trump many things, including good performance, superior intellect, and great insight. The best advice is one your mother may have given to you in the past. Give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves…saving you the trouble and the damage to your reputation. Be the consummate professional and you’ll always come out ahead.