When I met Marie yesterday, she was very upset. Marie works for a medium-sized company and since one year now she has a new boss. And he is giving her a hard time. Marie is a clever, diligent girl with a lot of sense of responsibility. But sometimes she is also a bit impulsive and has difficulties to follow conventions. But if necessary and that happens regularly at her work place, she works countless overtime hours and works even on weekends. Yesterday she told me, how her boss ran her down like a small girl in front of the entire team. That was too much for her and she ran outside with tears in her eyes. And now she has enough. The work is fun, she likes the team but she cannot stand the boss any longer. She already wrote her letter of resignation. „It can’t get any worse“, she says.
This story reminded me of my own story. As young entrant I had for a long time a boss who was rather special. On the one hand he could motivate people and had countless original ideas; on the other hand he regularly behaved like a silly person. With his behaviour he hurt people every day. But since he achieved good results with his team, nobody took notice of it. At the beginning I admired him. By and by with an increasing number of incidents, my opinion of him turned to neutral. I recognised his qualities but his negative sides were hard to bear. And one year later it was just tough. I had enough of his insults and outbursts of fury.
The last straw was the outcome of a client meeting. We were asked to write an expertise. I wrote the expertise and gave it to my boss for review. He changed the expertise and sent it in our both names to the client. Unfortunately and as several times before, he neither discussed it with me nor showed me the final result before sending. The client was not satisfied and invited us to discuss the expertise. I asked my boss to show me the final version. When I saw it, I startled. His changes were simply wrong. And also my name below it. I wanted to discuss it with him prior to the meeting but he did not have time.
The client meeting was disastrous. The client had obtained a second expertise, which highlighted our two incorrect statements. The discussion was very negative and almost aggressive. And suddenly my then boss said: “You know, I am very sorry. Ms Merz wrote the expertise and unfortunately I did not have the time to review it for correctness. She is still young and has yet a lot to learn. That happens. I will correct it.” Everyone looked at me and I sat there, became red in the face and thought that this cannot be true!!! It was clear that I did not want to work for that boss any longer. A coward who pushes his mistakes to his employees does not deserve me. Back then it did not even occur to him to apologise for his behaviour.
But at that time I did not give my notice. I went to our Senior Manager and asked him to transfer me to another department. And our Senior Manager asked me that long and so skilfully until I told him why I wanted to be transferred. He asked me to be patient for three months. And look there, 6 months later my boss was gone. That’s also how it can be.
I had to tell Marie – “Don’t give your notice!! Defend yourself! You are not wrong! We can only change the world, if we force things which are wrong to change. Running away is not a successful strategy!” Now I am curious to see whether Marie finds the strengths to act.