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Big Boss Week 2: Correcting the Big Boss June 2, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Big Boss, Management.
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Part 2 of “Big Boss Week” on CorporateSpeak.

Today’s tip for Big Boss Week comes from Top Cultured’s list of ten preventable professional mistakes: don’t correct the Big Boss.

I touched on this yesterday — being careful to e-mail your big boss so as not to say it’s his fault. Well, Top Cultured says:

Correcting your boss will rarely endear you to that person. If he or she made a mistake, try to correct it in as low-profile a way as possible. Perhaps you can talk to your boss during a break? However, you may (and should) publicly correct the boss when the boss in wrong about being wrong. In that limited circumstance, public correction is okay.

Don't even try to correct this guy. (Photo by Alistair Rickman)

Don't even try to correct this guy. (Photo by Alistair Rickman)

Okay, here’s the problems with that statement when it comes to the Big Boss:

  1. You never, ever want to draw the Big Boss’s attention to you — whether you’re doing a good job or a bad job, if you attract the Big Boss’s attention, that can only spell trouble.
  2. The Big Boss is always on his cell phone during breaks. Woe betide the person who interrupts.
  3. Don’t correct the Big Boss when he’s wrong about being wrong. That contradicts #1, and anyway, there’s bound to be a suck-up who’ll do it for you.

There is, of course, a drawback to this whole thing: when the Big Boss is wrong and it’s going to mean hardship for everyone.

My boss is on the executive committee here at CorporateSpeak, so the chain of command goes Me –> My Boss –> Big Boss. My boss can tell the Big Boss he’s wrong… but he’s just as afraid to as everyone else. Even the most powerful members of the executive committee walk on eggshells around the Big Boss. The Two-Year-Old even steps carefully when he says something. That’s a separate problem — when no one stands up to the Big Boss, there’s no checks and balances.

Anyway, tangent.

When the Big Boss runs rampant with his power and doesn’t realize it, he makes unreasonable demands and forces the employees to find work-arounds with scotch-tape and pretty pictures in hope that he doesn’t scratch the surface and discover the lead beneath the gold paint.

Mixed metaphors, but you get the idea.

When the Big Boss is wrong, everyone’s screwed. That’s pretty much what I’m saying here.

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