Have you ever thought you could do a better job than your boss or leader? I know I have thought that before. Unfortunately, thinking like that often leads to bitterness, complaining, and gossip. We think or worse yet, we tell our coworkers things like, “Can you believe they are doing that? I could do so much better! I can’t stand the way they do that! If I was in charge, things wouldn’t be this way!”
I’ve been there more often than I’d like to admit. However, I read a quote recently that has really helped me in this area of my leadership journey. Andy Stanley said, “If you‘re a leader and leaders work for you, they think they can do a better job than you.” That is an incredible insight!
That quote made me realize several things:
1.) It’s ok to think I could do a better job than my bosses or leaders – It’s the way leaders are naturally wired. We shouldn’t feel guilty about it, however, it is important what we do when we do feel that way. At that point, we can either help or hurt our organization.
2.) I only think I could do better than my bosses or leaders in the area of my strengths – Most of the things I think I could do better are things that I am naturally good at. I never think I could be better than my bosses and leaders in the area of their strengths.
3.) Even if I was the leader or the boss, people under me would be thinking they could do better than I could – I am not the perfect leader and neither are you. We all have weaknesses and shortcomings. When we recognize this, it will keep us humble and helps us give more grace to our leaders when we think they are doing the wrong things.
So what can we do when we feel this way?
If you’re not the leader:
1.) Learn while you don’t have to lead – The reality is, we don’t know what it is like to sit in that leadership seat yet. We don’t know all the pressure and responsibility that comes with leading. So what should we be doing? Learning everything we can about what it is going to take to lead when we do get in that seat. Ask your leader to help you understand what it’s like to be in their position. While learning, you should be constantly adding to two lists: 1.) Things I’ll do when I am the leader 2.) Things I won’t do when I am the leader.
2.) Take Initiative to Compliment Your Leader’s Weaknesses – The worst thing you can do is complain to others and get bitter. The areas you think you could do better in, you probably can! So why not talk to your leader and ask them if you could implement some of the changes you think could help the team or organization get better! It could be an opportunity to grow to the next level in your leadership. Your leader will appreciate it!
If you are the leader:
1.) Let leaders on your team lead! – You don’t have to worry about whether or not the leaders under you think they could do a better job than you, they do. Once you know that, allow them to lead in the areas of their strengths! Give them leadership opportunities. Let them lead projects. If they get better, your team will get better, and you’ll be better for it.
2.) Teach them what it’s like to sit in your seat – Teach them what it will be like when they get to your level. You know that it’s not as easy as they think it is. Use this as an opportunity to grow the leaders on your team.
Often times, this entire subject is the elephant in the room. As leaders, we need to address it and do something about it. Once you breakthrough this barrier, your leadership, your team, and your organization will go to another level.
What are you going to do the next time you think you could do a better job than your leader?
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