The Superhuman Boss – unrealistic expectations and how to manage them

Unlimited capacity – wouldn’t it be great to be able to deal with immense volume without experiencing stress or conflict?

Much of the challenge exists from pressure below and above – pressure below comes from a multiple of staff that need to direct information to or access information from their boss. From above, the challenge is “I deal with twice the volume you deal with, so cope”. It presents an unhealthy scenario for all parties, and increasingly I believe provides risk to organisations in terms of the negative health effects of these kinds of jobs.

However, how can you progress if you can’t deal with stress? Can you be Superhuman – it seems that the leader must be someone with greater appetite to work hard, and must be really smart in solving problems.

How do you fix it and focus? Concentrate on a bunch of things you will not do any more – cut, cut, cut and focus on those things that deliver the results that you are measured on. Share the challenge on priorities with your boss and make sure your relationship with your boss stays strong. Take some time out to breathe. Push back on requests for your time – if they don’t add to the goals you have been set, then avoid doing them.

This is partly a time management question, and partly a question of negotiation.

If you have had a scenario where you felt you had to be the superhuman boss, please share your experience – or if you feel your boss seems to be superhuman and your admire them for it – or are worried about them – then share that too. I look forward to your feedback….

One thought on “The Superhuman Boss – unrealistic expectations and how to manage them

  1. Justin,

    Great insights. This is SO common. There is this mentality that says, “I had to pay my dues to get to leadership, so now that I’m here, I am going to make you go through the same ‘painful’ process.”

    You are so right — “less is more” is almost ignored in today’s business world. It is so refreshing when I sit down with a leadership team and hear them say they are taking time to refocus, pair down, and do less but with more impact.

    “Margin”, for me, is that distinctive balance between the two ends of the swinging pendulum. We tend to be too far to one side or the other instead of regaining margin for all the others aspects of our lives.

    Wow! Good article.
    -Eric

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