Hey there, BusiChic! What a crazy week it’s been. I don’t want to re-hash all of the details (it’s pretty well documented on my instagram) but I had a run-in with a local business this week that led me to sympathise with its staff. More specifically it got me thinking about what we as individuals can do when we work for bosses or a company where the “tone-from-the-top” goes against what we personally feel or know is “right”.
Who here has a boss? It is tough to build a business from scratch so I assume that lots of us will work in companies who bear the risk of running a business and invest in our training and development to skill us up. In return we give our time and talents and agree to operate in a way that builds the reputation of said business. However what sometimes happens is that once in the business you realise that things aren’t as you first thought. There’s a saying that you should dress for the job you want. So what happens when you find yourself dressing better than your boss? Or more significantly – that you handle things more professionally or even ethically than them? It might be a subtle difference or it could be quite a marked one. Your boss may be dealing out the instructions but what happens when you feel in your gut that they are wrong?
In her book #GIRLBOSS, Sophia Amuroso points out that we all have the capabilities to be the boss of our own lives. We each need to step up and take responsibility for our own paths which for the most part means showing initiative and Getting Stuff Done (GSD). So what do you do when you realise that the boss isn’t acting in the best interest of the business but you love the business and want it to keep going?
Because it can be tough finding work whether it’s the position or the hours that you need. Maybe you see the good that the business does do and you decide to focus on that. You feel like you can do good and want to *fix things* because you believe in what the business is fundamentally about. Or maybe they are paying for a certification that you need. I am not an HR professional or psychologist but sympathetic to the situation that I think lots of us will face at some stage or another so here are some coping mechanisms I’ve come up with:
Don’t drop your standards, operate gently. Do what you feel is right, learn to manage those you report to but operate in a way that is best for the business. Their lack of professionalism may disappoint you but don’t let it make you drop your own personal standards. Don’t feel that you need to rub your own professionalism in their face but be mindful that working in an environment where you are constantly walking on eggshells can be unsettling and have a corroding effect on your own ethics, enthusiasm, zest for life, faith in humanity…
Find your people. Among your colleagues, the cleaner, the receptionist. Band together and support one another. The number of friendships that are built between colleagues over the shock at the perceived (whether real or not) incompetence or questionable behaviour of management cannot be overestimated.
Have an end-game. Why are you putting yourself on the line? What are the benefits for you? Are you learning all you can, building important relationships, developing your own work? And for what? Have an end-game to a better life because you are worth it and ultimately don’t you want to work in a business where you can focus on doing your best work rather than fixing up someone else’s mistakes?
I think I am also supposed to say go speak to your HR-equivalent but am mindful that not every business has these and even then they will often side with the boss/company. Document everything even if only for your own sanity so that you have something to point to… Do exercise and have outside interests to help keep sanity and perspective.
A business is only as good as its people- at any level.
Have you found yourself working in an environment where you had to go around your bosses make sure that things were done properly?
Has this post been super crytpic? Is it helpful?
How would you advise staff who find themselves in this position?
Thanks to everyone who supported me on Instagram and Twitter this week – I’m heading to Malbec World Day tonight for some drinks – swing by if you’re around!