Have you ever looked at your boss and wondered: “How on earth did he get this job?”
“It’s ok,” says Katie Mehnert, director of competence, capability, and culture at BP, in a recent LinkedIn post. “We’ve all said it before, either aloud or in our own minds.”
She says this thought crosses so many of our minds because not all leaders are created equal. “There are great ones, good ones, ok ones, and downright awful ones.” And you’ll probably experience the full spectrum throughout your career, she adds.
Mehnert offers a few signs you’re dealing with a “dud,” and some strategies on how to cope. Here are our two favourites:
1. They lack vision.
“You know that awesome U2 song, ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’? That’s this leader’s theme song,” she says. “Oftentimes I have seen folks get promoted because they can deliver, yet they can’t think beyond their silo.”
It’s important that those in leadership roles not only have a strong divisional vision — but that these ideas fit into the bigger picture in an integrated, practical, and meaningful way, Mehnert says.
If your leader has no vision — or has “tunnel vision” — expect chaos and confusion, she adds.
2. His or her nickname is KIA (Know It All).
A KIA leader is one who knows every answer — and this is the kind of boss you want to avoid.
Exceptional leaders, on the other hand, possess curiosity. “They know what they lack, and it’s their role to shape a team that brings the knowledge, skills, and experience into the room to deliver,” Mehnert says.
There’s no point in debating with a KIA. You’ll never win, so don’t even try, she says. Just smile and thank them for their “great intelligence.”
“Just remember though, there are plenty of duds in this world,” Mehnert concludes. “Some people never learn, however some do learn, grow, and get better. Sometimes too, the best learning is having experienced it. Some of my best assignments and growth spurts were due to how I coped with bad leadership.”
Click here to read the full LinkedIn post.
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