So often we see bosses refer to themselves as “the jerk in the corner office”.
They are so used to getting ‘beat up’ in conversations from employees who are upset with them, clients who are complaining or trying to justify fees, and referral sources who aren’t delivering on their promises. Many have accepted, or even embraced, an “I’m just the jerk in the corner office” persona and often fall into a good cop- bad cop interaction with others…with them always being the bad cop. They become the excuse for someone being told “No” or held accountable. BIG, BIG MISTAKE. You might as well not even show up in the office because you just cut your own legs out from under you and undermined any authority you had, rendering yourself completely ineffective.
First, and absolutely foremost, you are not the jerk in the corner office. You are a part of the team and more importantly the leader. You provide vision, confidence and direction for your intrapreneurs. By interacting with yourself as the jerk in the corner office, you are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. It steals your personal power. You will witness the team as they begin to ignore any corrections or requests you make of them. Not out of disrespect, but because you yourself have thrown your hands up for the “good of the team”. They will assume you are just having a bad day and that whatever complaint you are bringing to them will blow over by tomorrow. Instead, they need to take your corrections and requests as essential teaching moments.
Second, usually the mindset “just the jerk in the corner office” is followed with “so don’t mind me”. With all due respect, no. As stated above, you and your opinions should be minded. Your impact on the team can’t be ignored and if you are, in fact, coming off like a jerk it IS impacting your business and can’t be overlooked. Yelling, hairsplitting and surly behavior shouldn’t be something you expect the team to let roll off their backs. It creates an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty which paralyzes your team. You can’t expect them to have initiative and ‘step up’ when they aren’t certain which day you are going to greet them with a growl. They have no way to know if your mood is in response to despondency with their work or if you are just grumpy that day. And since they don’t know, 1 out of 2 team members will assume you are disappointed with them. They will become tentative, unsure and this puts them back ‘in the box’ you worked so hard to get them out of. They will begin to walk around on eggshells, never confident in their decision-making capabilities. If you have a complaint or correction for your team, by all means, it’s important so share it. But don’t hide out behind “being a jerk” because the conversation makes you uncomfortable. It’s disempowering to you AND your team.
One of the most productive and courageous things you can do is learn the skills to have an “Empowering Conversation” with your team; taking those too often awkward or tough conversations and transcending all involved to move forward in an impactful way. For a free copy of our web-recording “Keys to an Empowering Conversation”, including a written copy of the 8 Keys, email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Champions For Your Continued Success,
Molly and Laney