Prime Advantage has invited industry experts to share insights on achieving manufacturing and business success. In this post, Karin Hurt, CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and author of Winning Well, discusses how to excel at your job even when you’re dealing with a disengaged boss.
In an ideal world your boss is interested, eager to remove roadblocks, asking provocative questions, and helping build your career. That’s the leader I wish for you, and want you to be. But, with 71% of workers disengaged, chances are one day or another you’ll work for a boss with that same mindset.
At first glance it’s rotten. Your team’s killing themselves and your boss is just not paying attention. You ask for feedback, and he says everything is “fine.” Your updates fall into a black hole. You begin to worry about your team, and your career.
Cheer up, the advantage is in your court. Played well, there’s an upside to a disengaged boss:
1. Creative Freedom
Don’t go crazy, but try innovative approaches to improve the business. Pilot that new idea. Try leading differently. Enjoy the freedom to try new things without the need to explain your every move. Then package your success stories and share best practices.
2. Expanded Network
Your boss is not the only one you can learn from. Having a disconnected boss can push you to broaden your network. Look for opportunities to interface with his boss. Seek out mentors and other advocates. Improve your peer relationships.
3. Getting Noticed
Others are noticing your work even if your boss isn’t. Now is the time to build your skill set and really shine. Work on streamlining your emails and polishing your presentation skills. Sharing information with team members, stakeholders, and your boss will give you helpful feedback. Having to work a bit harder builds muscle in important competences.
4. Learning to Think Like a Boss
Learn as much as you can about the bigger context for your work. An apathetic boss forces you to work at a higher level. What you would say if you were in his position? You can be the boss you wish you had.
5. Team Investment
Rewards are great when you invest deeply in your peers. Nothing brings teams together more than a common cause. Leverage one another’s skills. Support each other’s development. A disengaged boss won’t be around for long, but your peer relationships can last through your entire career.