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By Darryl Stewart
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What is your boss’s fault is this

A few weeks ago, I wrote that if your team is not performing well, it is your fault as the leader. My point was that it is the things you do as a direct supervisor that most directly affect the engagement and performance of your team.

I received some strong feedback on this. I was not surprised. Whenever I say something like this in a presentation or a conversation, inevitably someone takes exception. They may talk about how those above them in their organization sabotage their efforts to run an effective team. They may say their boss does not listen to them, does not treat them well, and does not model good leadership or support their efforts. They may say that the organization as a whole seems not to care about the things they try to do for their team.

I don’t consider a boss’s poor leadership and an organization’s lack of support as valid reasons to not do our best to be an effective team leader. We have all worked in or seen small groups perform well inside poor organizations. It should be our goal to have our team do well, no matter what our boss or our organization does.

And it will be our boss’s fault when we take our well-developed leadership skills – skills we developed despite them – and move on to another organization that we think will support us better. This is the cost and the risk they run by not working on their leadership skills as we develop our own.

Some thoughts to take the edge off a bad day under a bad boss or to help you make the jump to a new opportunity:

  • We all have realities and responsibilities that can tie us to a bad situation longer than we would like.
  • Yes, it is hard to maintain a positive face for your team while your boss or the organization does not support you as you wish they did.
  • We can be forgiven for not being the best leader possible when we are not feeling appreciated or supported. Forgive yourself and try again tomorrow.
  • It may feel disloyal to leave your team behind and move on. Take heart in the fact that you stuck it out long enough to show them what a good team looks like and know that they most likely wish a better situation for you, as you would for them.

IBEX Payroll extends our profound respect and immeasurable gratitude to all the ancestors and keepers of the land on whose traditional territories our work takes place. We acknowledge that we are on Treaty 1 territory, the traditional gathering place of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene people and the traditional homeland of the Métis people. This land is sacred, historical, and significant. 

Every time we acknowledge this truth, we have an invitation and an opportunity to reflect on the wrongs of the past, what we do in the present, and what we can do to continually honour the people whose lands and water we benefit from today. 

This statement only acts as a first step in honouring the land we reside on and its peoples, and must be paired with education, understanding and informed action.