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At least once in our lives, we will be in a position where we feel superior to our superior. It is frustrating, wearisome, and downright maddening. You might be thinking that their value is minimal and that they are overpaid (while we often feel overworked and undercompensated in comparison) – it is easy to just want to pack up and leave. More often than not, you usually feel this way because you're hard work isn't being acknowledged.
The good news is all is not lost! Here are some tips making your work situation better:
Think – Could It Be Worse?
I once had a manager I found almost impossible to work with. She had a large ego that was underpinned by very little substance. She got in my way rather than supported, taught or helped move me forward in my role. Sometimes, she even took credit for my success. It left me fuming. Then I thought – sure, this is not ideal but at least I am not micromanaged. She also opened some new client doors for me. She rarely criticized, unlike other managers I had. I took some comfort in the fact that with her as my manager I still had a flexible working schedule and had the benefit of making some new contacts.
Look On the Bright Side – You Know What It Takes to Surpass!
It can be an empowering feeling knowing that you can eventually move past them in your career. And, if you have a genius for a boss, learn as much as you can from them to get ahead. Look at the little things they do, like communication style or working through a difficult situation. Feeling as if you are capable of doing the job of your manager and that you have more to offer means it is likely you are moving forward, faster than you think.
Think of Their Good Points
Often our displeasure with our boss blocks our awareness of the value they can bring to the table. They have managed to achieve and sustain their position, so look for the skillset they brought to the table (Linked In is a great resource for this). This will make you calmer and less resentful. Also, once you identify these, use them to your advantage. How can you leverage their skills? Can your boss help you make some internal or external connections? Can she or he advise you on your presenting style? Can they offer their experience/insight to assist a project you have? Thinking more positively about them will unconsciously unlock the flow of their positive points, which in the end may help you.
Focus on Yourself
Rather than concocting plans of how to bring your boss down or show them up, focus on your own job. Your bosses will change over the course of your career but you, my dear, will always be you. Expending energy on other people will not benefit your career. Spend your time doing your best work and look around to proactively seek advancement and responsibility rather than complain about being better than your boss. #truth
This too Shall Pass
This wise old expression is true for everything and gives perspective to the situation you find yourself in. You or your boss will eventually change roles and your current reporting structure and annoyance are temporary. Remind yourself of this daily. And, don't forget that while your supervisor manages you, you should manage your boss. If you need to be told once a month that you're doing a great job, then ask for it—managers can sometimes be caught up in handing out criticisms that they forget to also focus on what's good.
If all else fails and you simply cannot tolerate your manager it is totally acceptable to look for a new role. Sometimes this is the only option and your intuition will tell you when this is the case. Just remember that life is dynamic and reporting structures and positions constantly change. There is no guarantee that you won't find yourself in this position again. Focusing on you is therefore the only way to win.