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Smarter Than Your Boss? Here’s How You Should Deal With It

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There is a lot of talk about how managers should go beyond their egos and hire employees smarter than themselves for the betterment of the company, and to promote continuous learning and development. However, what happens when you find yourself at the receiving end of this thought process and end up reporting to a manager who you feel is not as qualified as you are to do the job?

When we talk about bad manager traits such as lack of leadership skills, being biased, malicious or insensitive come to our minds. However, there is also a type of bad manager who is clueless, incompetent and under-qualified for the role.

So, what do you do when you are the employee who feels superior to their own boss? Here are the 6 ways to deal with this situation:

1. Focus on the job

You have on multiple occasions realized you are indeed smarter than your boss. If this is true, the first step is to eradicate that thought from your mind and look beyond it. If you hold onto it and let it play in your mind every time you interact with your boss, chances are you will be highly distracted.

Instead of whining about it, focus on the larger picture. Focus on what you are really in the company for. Your work is the only thing that matters as it is what will help you succeed. Cherish your time in your present company and do phenomenal work that can add value to your resume.

2. Work collaboratively

No matter how much you hate it, your boss and you are a team. While it’s frustrating to be taking more of the load due to someone else’s incapability, remember that working together as a team will only speak volumes about your work ethic and professionalism. In meetings with external departments, avoid belittling or correcting your boss.

While you need to work together as a unit, it doesn’t mean that you need to own up to all the mistakes he/she makes. If you feel you are getting wrongly accused, you have all the rights to involve the HR department in this discussion.

Look at it this way – this is your time to shine so ensure you maximize this opportunity and make the best of it. There are those who are stuck with bosses who don’t empower their subordinates so feel lucky that you have the opportunity and put your best foot forward.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford

3. Look at the positives

There is always something we can learn from everyone we come across in our lives. Yes, your boss is not the most inspiring person, but there certainly ought to be some qualities you can imbibe. Observe closely. Is it their calm nature, positive outlook, delegating abilities or listening skills? What is it that you feel you lack and can learn from them?

Don’t dismiss your boss just because you consider yourself to be better at the job. Find qualities in your boss that are admirable and respect them for it. By doing so, you will be looking on the bright sight of the situation which will certainly help you work better with your boss.

4. Don’t be overconfident

In a situation like this, it is easy to become overconfident. However, you need to make a conscious effort to not turn into an arrogant, overconfident and pompous person at work because no one appreciates that. Before you know it, overconfidence will start getting reflected in your body language which can be highly detrimental to your career.

Always challenge your ideas and surround yourself with people who do so as well. Remember, just because you feel superior to your boss does not make you a know-it-all. There is never a dearth to learning and once you accept that, it can do wonders to your growth curve in the company. So, stay humble and grounded – it will make you a better leader in the future.

“Never be afraid to fail. Failure is only a stepping stone to improvement. Never be overconfident because that will block your improvement.” – Tony Jaa

5. Avoid gossiping

You might be tempted to share your concerns and frustrations with a fellow team member but never resort to gossiping or bad mouthing your manager. Word tends to spread in an office and that never ends well.

Gossiping only reflects badly on you and can lead to severe long-term implications which can affect your career. It’s always a smarter idea to stay on the good side of your boss, however annoyed you may be. There will always be those co-workers who might try and instigate you to get you talking but beware of such people and stay away from office politics.

6. Seek mentors elsewhere

It is important to have a mentor in your workplace – someone who guides you, shows you the right path and helps you move closer to your career goals. Many people seek mentorship in their managers but in such scenarios when you feel that you are clearly better at your work than he/she is, it is best to seek mentors in some other senior resource in the company.

Reach out to seniors in the company who you admire and feel you can learn more from because you need to learn and grow, and having a bad manager should not stop you from doing so.

Being smarter than your boss is a sticky scenario to be in but if approached with positivity and the right attitude, it can work in your favor too. Everyone has flaws and no one is perfect so stop cribbing and work together with your boss, as a unit. This is just one chapter of your career, so focus on the larger picture and be a resourceful, indispensable employee in order to take your career to greater heights!

How do you deal with struggles in your workplace? Let us know your thoughts and advice in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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