[May 17, 2017] FBI Director James Comey was recently fired from his job after President Trump decided it was time for him to go. There are few people who would deny that the decision was necessary although it occurred rather abruptly. One of the reasons for the firing, it is alleged, is that Comey called Trump crazy (although I’m sure it wasn’t meant in a literal sense).
A good piece of advice for all leaders … don’t call your boss crazy, stupid, ignorant, lazy, or any such list of negative, value-laden adjectives. If you do, regardless whether your boss is crazy (or not), it will eventually get back to the boss and the repercussions will not be pleasant and neither will it be productive. Besides, name calling is unprofessional and shows the name caller is likely to be somewhat immature, prone to exaggeration, and lacks adequate resilience of personality.
Such characteristics are, of course, a hindrance to good leadership and should be consciously avoided. If the boss is indeed crazy (or some variation on that theme) then there are legitimate and commonly accepted steps to overcome the problem. Name calling only makes the situation worse and is prone to perpetuate the problem rather than solve it.
It goes without saying, that irrespective of what type of boss you may have – good or bad, sane or crazy, etc. – that there are leadership traits that must be emphasized to prevail over the problem. Loyalty, good communications, courteous behavior, integrity, honor, and moral courage are more likely to help solve problems with your boss.
I once had a terrible boss (who hasn’t had one) who demanded constant updates on the most minor detail of any project I was executing. In my mind it was difficult for me because by doing so I was distracted and doing so took too much of my valuable time. In speaking with others who had been there longer, I was informed that this was his way to maintain his comfort level. He was the boss! I complied with all his requests.
Good communication already requires purposeful and constant effort to be effective. The additional burdens placed upon us by our bosses are no justification for calling them crazy, stupid, etc. I suggest we avoid even thinking it unless the boss is dangerous or acts unethically, immorally, or illegally. Besides, we don’t see things from the boss’ perspective and thus our priorities and tasks must be in balance with the boss or we are flat out wrong.
Leaders must exercise extreme caution in what we say and how we behave. As leaders, people see us and emulate what they see and hear. Apart from of what our boss does or says, we should be the one who sets the example for all. That is what real leadership is about.
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