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What to do when You're (WAY) Better than Your Boss

Written by Rebecca Okamoto on Sept. 14, 2014

"I am WAY better than my perspective boss."

A while ago I was complaining to my friend Tai Doong, a Marketing Director at the Mars Food. Tai's an expert at leading change. His career has spanned jobs from consumer products giants to start ups and high tech firms. The company was ready to make an offer. I was feeling reluctant.

What Tai said surprised me.

“That’s GREAT!” he said. “You WANT to be better than your boss. You want your boss to assemble the best team possible. There's no way one person can know everything and the leader's job is to look for people better than he is. That way his team is learning, growing and stretching and so will the business.”

I was holding onto the old fashion notion that "bosses should be better" than the people they manage.

Tai's right. In an ever faster moving business environment and rapid technology breakthroughs, no one can keep up.

No one.

Are you WAY better than your boss? Don't blast your boss, embrace the opportunity.

  • Where's your focus? Keep your eye on the big picture - the business objectives and your career objectives. Get the job done. Too much focus on your boss translates into too little focus on the real priorities. Is your boss a micro manager? Manage up and around him.

  • Improve your boss - tell your boss what your expertise is and how you can help him (or her). Discuss with your boss how to best give input. Pass along articles or TedTalk talks. And ask for more responsibility where he has flat spots.

  • Work as a team Are you part of a business team or project team? Instead of being a collection of individuals, focus on a team approach - this will strengthen everyone. Encourage the team to use tools like StrengthFinders to leverage the combined talents of each individual. Note if team members have the same flat spots or strengths and discuss the implications of it.

  • Assemble your career dream team. Don't force the situation with your boss - face it and then embrace it. If your boss is unable to give you the career or functional coaching that you need, it's time to open your contact list.

  • Learn from this experience. One day you will have a team of people working for you - do you want to be the smartest and the best, or do you want to be surrounded by the best and brightest? Big difference.

Are you better than your boss? Great. That's just how you want it.

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