by Jesse Wood, CEO of eFileCabinet
The relationship between bosses and subordinates has existed since the dawn of humankind. But the time we’ve spent handling these relationships as a species doesn’t equip us to handle their tension in modern office environments itself.
So, what can?
The answer is lots and lots of practice, patience and learning. Given the complexity of the modern workplace, the world of work serves as a perfect backdrop to improve these increasingly important relationships.
But that doesn’t mean repairing the relationship should be difficult. If you’re a worker with a terrible boss, follow these strategies to regain favor in the eyes of your manager without sacrificing your own importance and sense of self-worth.
Here are a few common quips uttered by disgruntled managers ‘round the globe, and what you can do to improve their moods:
Find a Smarter Way to Work, and Have Fun Doing It.
Although some view inspiration as managers’ responsibility, employees have equal power to inspire their managers.
Some of the greatest coaches of all time have been inspired by the athletes they train. Becoming the worker who inspires your boss to either believe in you or themselves can have an enduring and positive impact on a team’s morale.
Setting the stage for this dynamic will involve all the efficiency a team muster.
While having a job is, well, work, it doesn’t have to be an awful and dreaded nightmare. You can enjoy your job while being productive, but oftentimes difficult bosses would rather see results than enjoyment, failing to understand that intrinsic enjoyment leads to better on-the-job performance.
While not everyone is passionate about what they do, there are ways to improve job satisfaction without bending over backward.
The first step is to eliminate demeaning processes — ones typified by busywork and needless exertion.
Relying on outdated, manual processes and failing to take a business or role digital can contribute to an increasingly common phenomenon among office workers: feeling like Sisyphus pushing the proverbial boulder up the hill.
Companies, offices, and even departments learning new technologies not only improve efficiency, but improve workers’ sense of self-efficacy, too — something researchers are discovering increases on-the-job happiness.
When you eliminate misfiling, searching for documents, losing documents, and other negative aspects about a paper laden workplace (faxing, printing, storing, and so on), from your routine, you’ll begin to remember why you entered your selected line of work in the first place.
For instance, many healthcare workers increasingly cite the bureaucratization of their profession (and its paperwork) as one its greater downfalls — preventing them from exercising their skill set as medical practitioners.
Just as we can think our way into action, we can act our way into thinking.
It’s for this reason that working hard for a cause your boss cares about can help you feel more satisfaction while on the job, even if it isn’t necessarily important to you.
This form of altruism can help us learn new skills and tasks that will later be imperative to meeting the company’s future needs.
In fact, learning something new that pertains to your job not only makes you a more effective worker, but also makes you happier. When bosses and their subordinates are both happy, conflicts are easier to resolve and solutions to problems are easier to find.
Eliminate Blame shifting.
Blame shifting is common in some companies, but it can be detrimental to more than just the team involved; it’s an easy way to reduce individuals’ sense of self-worth while simultaneously raising anxiety.
Research shows that blamers lose a lot more than the blame they’re trying to misplace: they can lose their status as a valuable coworker, the respect of their managers, and any positive vibes they may have worked hard to foster prior to the incident of blame shifting.
The more co-workers attempt to assign blame to others, the less teamwork and positive morale there’ll be. Under these conditions, an already struggling boss’s demeanor will worsen.
There are many methods for businesses, and their workers, to increase accountability. Having clear set roles and responsibilities can help reduce ambiguity and confusion around who is doing what, and fostering a sense of ownership for results can motivate workers to perform better.
Once they realize how much they impact a task or project, they will feel more accountable for anything that happens, positive or negative.
Reduce Stress without Sacrificing Productivity: Yes, It’s Very Possible.
Alexander Kjerulf, a Chief Happiness Officer at Woohoo, notes that happiness is “the ultimate productivity booster.”
I can practically hear all the workers and managers who’ve believed in the power of stress turning in their graves, likely because it’s this mentality that put them in the ground sooner than expected.
After all, cortisol (a steroid hormone made in the adrenal glands to cope with stress) is becoming a medical epidemic that can lead to a variety of health issues, and impacts many industries associated with high levels of stress:
- Financial Services
- Property Management
- Real Estate
What do these industries have in common? They all struggle to shed legacy technology systems for lighter, more agile information management solutions.
A Document Management System (DMS) can eliminate this issue. Whether through increasing billable hours as an accountant, winning new building contracts as a construction worker, or finding new tenants for your rental properties, fixing document processes lends to significantly greater productivity, and productivity is an excellent way to make a difficult boss like you.
Look at Your Boss as Your Customer.
Although it’s become cliché, the customer is always right — especially in today’s economic environment — one in which the customer demands more than ever and has a greater range of options for “taking their business elsewhere” than at any other point in the history of capitalism.
Who does the customer sound like in the above example? The boss.
The boss is always right, and he or she can look for a better alternative than you at any given time. If you do not deliver as advertised, you may have to sell your expertise elsewhere.
In a more typical B2C context, whether you work at a restaurant, a call center, or as a consultant, nobody likes to be put on hold when asking for information. The key is organization – It’s all about being able to access what customers need, and quickly—this includes your boss.
Great customer service can also be achieved by simply showing care for the customer’s situation. Listening carefully to the customer is one of the best things you can do to provide excellent service. As in any relationship, listening makes customers feel like they are being heard and that their needs are being addressed.
But like any seemingly insurmountable task, chipping away at making your boss like you piece-by-piece through the above strategies can ease tension and completely change the dynamic of your workplace culture for the better.
Jesse Wood is the CEO of document management software vendor, eFileCabinet. Founded in 2001, eFileCabinet, Inc. began as a cutting-edge tool to digitally store records in accounting firms. As it grew in popularity, eFileCabinet developed into a full-fledged electronic document management solution designed to help organizations automate redundant processes, ensure security, and solve common office problems.