Tag Archives: Boss

Know Your Place: Soul-Crushing, Productivity-Wasting Leadership Mistakes…

If the rule in your office is ‘know your place’:


Leadership is about bringing out the potential of every employee!

One of the most common leadership mistakes is systematically restricting employee contributions because they fall outside of the employee’s job description.

Bob’s worked here since 2002, he was hired on as a Blackberry support specialist and now he can’t represent the team at a local event, because it’s not in his job description. Really?

Sure, people are hired to do specific jobs and yes there are labor laws that govern what we can and can’t ask of employees but why restrict the potential contributions of employees that are simply seeking opportunities to demonstrate their value and capabilities in new ways? Isn’t that an implicit promise of every job description?

Great leaders use job descriptions as developmental starting points.

Here are two ways leaders can help employees show their stuff:

Organizational memory and know-how: Work somewhere a while and you’ll develop firsthand knowledge of why things are the way they are and how things “REALLY” work. Solid leaders seek out ways to leverage all the skills and knowledge of their employees and help them showcase their institutional knowledge.

Think HUMAN not HIERARCHICAL: Managing relationships is critical to team success and great leaders aren’t relationship snobs. EVERYBODY knows someone that can help your organization, so never-ever reject an established relationship with an individual contributor in favor of trying to get two hierarchical equals to talk – it’s short sighted and insulting. Sure, that are any number of legitimate reasons you may not want someone to engage on behalf of your team but job description isn’t one of them.

Great leaders uplift, upskill, challenge and inspire.

Great leaders go the way of their people.

A quiet, largely invisible group of under-performers is not the calling card of a great leader.

As always, I welcome your comments directly at jeff@jeffkaplan.com.

Stay connected,


Does Your Boss Need Ego Bypass Surgery?

Why Your Boss Is Keeping You Away from the Strategic Table…


Are you setting the stage for your organization’s future?

Or sitting in a big pile of strategic sewage – basting in all the stuff that rolls downhill from the corner office and directly into your cubical?

If you’ve tried everything to gain a seat at the strategic table with no luck (see my blog “Still at the Kid’s Table”, it may be time to ask what the heck is wrong with your boss?)

5 Strategic Excluder Prototypes:

(Is your boss one of them?)

#5 FLAGers: Viewing participation in strategic planning as a source of power, FLAGers reflexively resist collaboration, emphasize hierarchical differences and strictly adhere to job roles as means to protect their territory.

#4 DANGERFIELDs: These leaders get ‘no respect’ I tell ya! and give ‘no respect’ to others in return. With the weight of the world squarely on their shoulders, they see only their roles as having real value and our roles—not so much!

#3 DOWNHILLers: Catching what’s rolling downhill like the rest of us, DOWNHILLers are afraid to let others know that they don’t have a seat at the strategy table either and that strategy is handed down to them, just like the rest of us!!!

#2 NAFs: Naked and afraid, these leaders don’t have a clue what strategy really is and so NAFs treat strategy as an academic exercise. Desperately trying to hide the fact that there is NO TABLE, this fear driven leader, wants no one to learn the king (or queen) has no STRATEGIC clothes… and so, are doomed to remain naked and afraid.

And the #1 most common diagnosis?

#1 EXADDs: Executive ADD affects many executives, causing confusion and frustration among an estimated 100% of the people that work for them.

Symptoms include:

  • An inability to focus on anything until the last damn minute
  • Obsessive-compulsive blame shifting and
  • Frequent displays of Whitehorse complex (riding in at the last minute to solve problems of their own creation)

Often diagnosed but seldom treated the only known cure for EXADDs is of course… EGO BYPASS SURGERY!


Hopefully you found this blog entertaining but the topic is definitely no joke.

Remember, the most effective strategies are:

  1. Simple
  2. Inclusive (people/opinions/perspectives) and
  3. Clear (connect every role, every action, every investment to what the strategy is trying to achieve)

If you can’t see how your role directly contributes to the overall strategy of your organization—your leaders have let you down and your problem may be bigger than your boss.

As always, I welcome your comments directly at jeff@jeffkaplan.com

Stay connected!


The Codependent Executive: Why Our Relationship with Work is Broken (Part 3)

Is your boss broken?
You may be working for a codependent executive…take the test!

Strongly Agree = 3
Agree = 2
Somewhat agree = 1
Don’t agree = 0

  1. Micromanagement is a nice way to describe the details my boss wants to manage.
  2. My boss’ desire to manage everything does NOT extend to using his/her time wisely.
  3. Our team is often scrambling at the last minute because our boss failed to focus on what needed to be done – when we brought it up weeks before.
  4. My boss is my boss, even when we aren’t at work.
  5. My boss is the most intense person on our team.
  6. My boss has up and down relationships with nearly everyone on the team, with one person being bosses-pet for a while and then falling out of favor to be replaced by a new favorite employee.
  7. It seems like my boss is most happy when leading the team during crisis and never lets us forget the sacrifices he/she made to get us through the crisis.
  8. My boss is always around.  Even when he/she takes time off for family vacations or to deal with health issues, he/she calls and texts, while supposedly out.
  9. My boss loves it when anyone on the team tells him/her a secret.
  10. My boss loves-loves-loves interpersonal interaction, preferring meetings, planning sessions, lunches and social events to time alone in his/her office.
  11. Everyone knows what’s happening in our boss’ life, from the biggest drama to the smallest detail.
  12. My boss loves to be loved—what other people think of him/her really matters to them.

So add up your scores from all the questions and if your boss scored 24 or higher on your quiz…I am SOOO sorry for you…

Here are some things to watch out for from your codependent executive:

  • Draws self-worth and self-identity from the job
  • Intense and unstable interpersonal relationships
  • Hates being alone
  • Often bored, even when you’ve shared things that need doing
  • Puts the job first and let’s everyone know of the sacrifice
  • Craves acceptance
  • Has a low self-worth…

Our relationship with work is broken, in part because work related stress has become a leading heath issue. Sometimes our relationship with work is broken, because our boss is broken – a tough issue because it’s not our place to fix anyone, so our relationship with work suffers as a consequence.

As always, I look forward to hearing what you think at jeff@jeffkaplan.com.

Stay connected,