A strong boss serves as an example, shares leadership lessons, listens and responds to employees, and enables others on the team to become valued members of the organisation themselves. A weak boss performs poorly and negatively impacts the entire team that works for him.
But how do you identify a strong leader? Beware the autocrat who rules with an iron fist. This type of person may secretly be a weakling who has little ability to deal with executives. The really ‘nice’ boss, who has a good word for everybody, may be an assertive person who interacts easily with the top brass and achieves desired outcomes.
Assess your boss
If you want to advance your career, you have to judge your boss’s status correctly. In her book The Power Principle: Influence With Honor, Blaine Lee demonstrates the viability of different types of power.
She notes that personality is an important instrument of power. Attributes such as precision, insight, charm, apparent honesty, humour, sincerity, and seriousness are important. So too is the ability to communicate. Strong bosses convey certainty in their own beliefs, but also use a combination of warmth and firmness to influence and lead.
- How does your boss measure up?
- Do other people listen when she speaks?
- Do others turn to your boss for input when decisions have to be made?
- When strategy is being mapped out, is your boss consulted, or is he unaware of what the company’s future plans are?
- Does his career path show strong and rapid development?
- Does he achieve his goals?
Answer those questions and you will begin to have a clearer picture of who your boss is.
Once you are satisfied that he is a strong leader, position yourself as an invaluable member of the team. Keep abreast of trends, industry news, competitor activity, and pass this important information on. In this way, you’ll make yourself valuable.
Get to know your boss.
This is not about making friends, but about understanding her work challenges better, finding ways to assist her, and becoming an indispensable ally.
Finally, ask your boss for input when you need it. In this way you recognise that he has valuable advice to share on dealing with difficult clients or delivering a presentation that will close the sale. It’s a great way to build a strong, lasting working relationship.