Boss Says and Other Stupid Games “Leaders” Play post image

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
How do you break the “boss said” cycle?
Filed Under:   Authenticity & Transparency
Karin Hurt
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.

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What People Are Saying

Steve Borek   |   03 April 2013   |   Reply

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.

letsgrowleaders   |   03 April 2013   |   Reply

Steve, authenticity is so vital.

Ed Rehkopf   |   03 April 2013   |   Reply

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.

letsgrowleaders   |   03 April 2013   |   Reply

Ed, thanks so much. So great to have you in the LGL community.

Lily Kreitinger (@lilykreitinger)   |   03 April 2013   |   Reply

What I’m getting from this post is that if you take ownership of your organization’s vision (which should match your boss’s), you don’t need to say “the boss said”. The team will know it’s a shared one. Great post, Karin!

Carrie @ Busy Nothings   |   03 April 2013   |   Reply

Really enjoyed this post, Karin. Timely.

letsgrowleaders   |   04 April 2013   |   Reply

Lily, Exactly. Ownership and Authenticiy. Thaks so much.

letsgrowleaders   |   04 April 2013   |   Reply

Carrie, thanks so much.