by Michael Riggs, M.Ed.
Depending on the different roles you play in your life, the person you report to could be a manager, spouse, committee chairperson, personal trainer, or parent. To quickly determine who it is you answer to, just look up to see who ultimately controls your actions in a particular environment or setting. Or, another way to determine your boss is to see who would be most upset with you if you really messed up with a job or responsibility. Any way you look at it, all you have to do to determine your boss is too look up, right? Wrong.
If it weren’t for those that buy our widgets, eat our widgets, use our widgets, make our widgets, and give us feedback on the quality of our widgets, we’d be out of the widget business. Strangely, we are conditioned to give most of our attention to the needs and desires of those that are “above” us – our superiors. When, in reality, those that are “below” us are the ones that wield all the power. For, without them we do not have roles. How many games would a coach win without players? Where would a hamburger stand owner be without a hamburger flipper? How successful would a manager be without people to manage? How effective would a CEO be without those to carry out her plans of execution? Where would a parent be without children? How could a doctor practice without patients?
Instead of continuously looking up to find your boss, take a good look down and around. When you begin to understand that your well-being is provided by those that work for you, and buy from you, your paradigm will begin to shift. You will be transformed from master to servant and your appreciation for, and behavior toward, those that keep you “in business” will change dramatically.
Stop trying so hard to please your boss and start trying to authentically serve your customers.
In Another’s Words…
“I judge character not by how men deal with their superiors, but mostly how they deal with their subordinates.”
– Norman Schwarzkopf, US Army General
Kissing up to the Boss: What is it and Whats it About?
Supervisory Role: 5 Strategies to Leverage Subordinate Turnovers
Subordinate Perception of Leadership Style and Power: A Cross-Cultural Investigation
How to Give Orders to Subordinates