Issue: March 2017, Posted Date: 2/27/2017
EXTERNAL DELIVERY - The Rodney Dangerfield Effect
You all know Rodney Dangerfield, the
man who coined the phrase, “I don’t get no respect!” I believe Rodney had some
of the best one-liners in show business. Some were a little crude, but most
I learned a long time ago that respect
has to be earned, it is never given freely. While everyone wants to be
respected, the odds are that you will eventually run into someone who is in a management
position that “gets no respect.” What do you do if you end up reporting to
someone who you do not respect?
Well, let’s first look at what it
takes to gain the respect of others. This is my opinion, which you may not
agree with. But here it goes. I believe it takes two primary traits to earn the
respect of others: character and reputation. There are a lot of subheadings
that go with these two primary traits, but these are the two biggies.
So, what do you do if you end up
reporting to someone who you have no respect for? This is a really tough
situation, possibly one of the top three toughest situations. The following is
what I would do:
1. Do the best job you are capable of
and don’t let your lack of respect for your boss affect your performance. I
would view it as a training session by your boss on what not to do when you
become a manager.
2. Keep a detailed file on problems
and concerns your boss is responsible for. Show no emotion in your writing as
it won’t fly well in a mediation or arbitration hearing. And keep the file at
home, not in the office.
3. Do not, under any circumstance,
talk negatively about your boss to others. One of them may be a back stabber
and go to your boss and tell him/her what you said. A lot of people in
companies who have poor skill sets get ahead by relaying to your boss what you
have said in a closed-door meeting.
4. You should try to determine why you
do not respect your boss. Is it his/her language, poor people skills,
incompetence, work ethic, blaming others for their own failures, etc. Once you
settle on a reason(s), you should try to determine ways you can work with him/her.
Remember, you can only change yourself but not your boss.
5. If nothing works, then I would tune
up the resume or wait your boss out. People change responsibilities constantly
in companies, so your boss may be somewhere else in a few weeks or months.
Keep in mind that the problem could
also be you. It could be a personality conflict or maybe your boss just has
some benign bad habits you and others find uncomfortable. Sometimes, with great
dignity and respect toward your boss, you might want to ask your boss out to
lunch or dinner and put the problem on the table and work it out.
I had a conflict with the President of
one of the large corporations I worked for and lost all respect for him. As
things were coming to a head, I chose to take him out to dinner and to talk it over.
We settled our differences, shook hands, and instead of getting fired, he
became a mentor to me.
John A. Bermingham is former Executive Vice
President & COO of 1st Light Energy & Conservation Lighting, Inc. and
former Co-President and COO of AgraTech, a biotech enterprise. He was also
President & CEO of Cord Crafts, LLC; President & CEO of Alco Consumer
Products, Inc., Lang Holdings, Inc., and President, Chairman, and CEO of Ampad,
all of which he turned around and successfully sold. With more than 20 years of
turnaround experience, he also held the positions of Chairman, President, and
CEO of Centis, Inc., Smith Corona, Corporation, and Rolodex Corporation as well
as turning around several business units of AT&T Consumer Products Group
and served as the EVP of the Electronics Group, and President of the Magnetic
Products Group, Sony Corporation of America.
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