Boss Says and Other Stupid Games “Leaders” Play

Weak managers hide behind powerful. Wimpy leaders fear their own opinions. Teams can’t follow pass through. Be inspired by your boss. Understand their vision. Then, make it your own.

Never play, “my boss says.” Copycats don’t inspire vision, build trust, motivate greatness, or develop anyone.

Don’t enable teams to pull the “boss says” lever.

As Kouzes and Posner explain, “If the words you speak are not your words but someone else’s, you will not, in the long-term, be able to be consistent in word and deed. You will not have the integrity to lead.” -Kouzes & Posner, The Leadership Challenge

Watch a “boss sayser” closely. They likely wimp out in other ways too. Don’t count on them to tell the truth, up down or sideways.

Great leaders don’t play games.

Own Your Words & Actions

When the decision is unpopular or you disagree, it’s tempting to credit or blame those above. Don’t. Your team trusts you. Your boss is scary. Your bosses boss is even scarier. Big titles feel scary from afar.

  • Understand
  • Ask questions
  • Voice concerns
  • Work through your apprehension
  • Listen
  • Share pros and cons
  • Own it
  • Do what you say
Posted in Authenticity & Transparency and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.


  1. I’m reading the 5th edition of The Leadership Challenge. Actually listening to the audio book.

    What Kouzes and Posner are saying is be authentic.

  2. The leadership failures and challenges you present are all too familiar. Keep them coming; they are great reminders to all of us of what constitutes the differences between “good” and “bad” bosses.

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