Howard is regional director at Michael Page Hong Kong and oversees a number of disciplines including sales, marketing, digital, procurement & supply chain, retail & sourcing, finance, and HR.
Dealing with tough bosses takes tact
My boss wants me to do things which go against my values – borderline lying, aggressively chasing sales or even taking other colleagues’ ideas for my own. I have voiced my opinions in a very careful way so as not to offend him, but it’s getting more difficult. His aggression has already earned him troops of enemies. I don’t want to bypass him and complain to the management, but it’s such a dilemma that I don’t know how to win this fight. What is your suggestion?
I am sorry to hear that you are facing such a conundrum in your career. Standing up to or reporting your superior is never easy. While it might seem like the right course of action, there are a few points to consider before deciding what approach to take.
If the issue is with the style of delivery of the message from your boss, then perhaps it is worth finding an informal opportunity to hint to your boss that your communication methodology may not be yielding the results he or she wants, and that a more collaborative approach may offer better results.
If the issue is really getting out of hand, then you might need to decide on another approach. My suggestion would be to stick with the facts and tell management how your boss’s approach is affecting sales, revenue, profit or perhaps staff retention. It needs to be an objective and diplomatic approach, and business-related, preferably substantiated with facts and figures.
Hopefully, your boss’s boss will appreciate that you are doing the right thing for the company.
It is important not to take an emotional tone when taking matters to senior management, but to maintain a professional and business-minded approach. Not only will you present your case in a more positive light, but it also will show that you have carefully thought the process through before presenting the case forward to management.
You could also look for colleagues who get along with your boss. Surely there must be some value they see in him that differs from the opinions of others in your team.
It is never an easy decision to make when facing such a situation. However, with careful consideration and a planned approach, you might just be able to reach a suitable solution that leads to improvements at the workplace and an overall positive outcome.