Many of the issues people have with their bosses can stem from a fundamental difference in values. Your boss may be more interested in churning out quantity, while you may feel that quality should come first. Your boss may believe that interpersonal skills are unimportant, while you see them as a critical element of a team environment. Maybe you’re just wanting to get things done while he (she) seems intent on playing office politics. How do you work effectively with someone who seems to view things so very differently?
The first step to dealing with these differences is understanding that, as frustrating as they are, they have the potential to create a much more effective work environment. Someone, for example, who values achievement, or ‘getting it done’ may indeed butt heads with someone who values precision, or ‘getting it right’. One person will send a document off in time to meet a deadline regardless of whether it has a couple of typos. The other person will ensure the document is perfect, regardless of whether or not it gets there on time. But imagine both of those people working together, each respecting the other’s priorities. The end result is far more likely to be a document that is both perfect and timely.
The point, therefore, is that your best option is to try to find a way to work with the other person instead of trying to change him to your way of thinking. You do this by eliminating the yabuts (“yes-but”) from your conversation, and replacing them with “yes-and.” (This technique was covered in an earlier Winning at Work article). So, for example, when your boss says, “We need to have this out by the end of the day,” don’t say, “Yabut we’re going to need some time to proof it.” Try instead saying “Yes, and if we can actually shoot for 3:30, that will give us time to proof it.” The first statement implies that you’re pushing back, the second statement implies that you want to add value to your boss’s plan.
Rather than just sit in judgement of your boss’s approach to things, look for the positive things it brings to the table, then try to find ways that you can use your perspectives to create an even more robust workplace.