Steps to Management Success – Step 103: Don’t Make the Boss Look Bad

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 14th, 2010


Don’t Make the Boss Look Bad

This rule could very well be the most obvious one in this book. After all, what reason could it possibly serve to “dis” the boss? It’s nothing that anyone with any sense would do intentionally—but there’s the rub. Many otherwise sensible people show up or otherwise undercut the boss unintentionally. And at the end of the day, whether you meant to or not doesn’t really matter.

WHAT IT MEANS: Don’t do or say anything that might tarnish your boss’s image or create a negative impression. That doesn’t just mean being overtly disrespectful. It means badmouthing him or her to others, taking credit for something that he or she did, cutting him or her off in a meeting, or doing an “end around” to undercut his or her authority. All of these inappropriate behaviors could jeopardize your working relationship—and your job.

ACTION PLAN: Sometimes you may be completely unaware that you’re making the boss look bad, so do a quick reality check. Through your words, attitude, tone, and/or actions, are you doing anything that would be cause for resentment? As a rule of thumb, don’t do or say anything behind your boss’s back that you wouldn’t do or say in front of him or her.

EVEN BETTER: Consider how you can make your boss look good—by giving credit where credit is due, by keeping him or her in the loop, by seeking his or her counsel, and by generally being courteous and respectful in his or her presence.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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