Daily Stretch #11: Regain your power at work


Work is making people miserable.

More than 50% of Americans are looking for a new job. Employees are not the only ones suffering. Managers are being blamed by everyone for everything that isn’t right.

Workplace frustration is a symptom of a deeper crisis as I wrote here. The whole work relationship is broken.

Before you quit your job, pause. What are you doing to improve things at work? Blaming your frustration on your manager won’t solve your problem.

Your boss is not the only one that has the power to change things. You have leverage too. Use it.

Fire your boss. Or, for starters, fire the boss-employee relationship that’s making you frustrated.

Today’s stretch: regain your power at work

“You never get what you deserve; only what you have the leverage to negotiate.” — Jalen Rose

Work, like any other relationship, is a two-way street. Each part has an equal share in making things work. I call it the 50–50 rule. You can’t blame your boss for everything. He is responsible for his 50%, what about your part?

A successful marriage or a friendship depends on both parties. If it’s working is because both sides are doing their 50%. If it’s not, reversing that situation is a shared responsibility.

The same happens with a toxic relationship. It takes two to suffer it. If you are engaged in one, you should do something about it.

Today’s stretch: regain your power at work. Challenge yourself. Do your part. Acknowledge your leverage. Speak up. Negotiate.

Embrace your power to drive change.

How to fire your current boss

Reframe your role: Move from being the victim to taking responsibility for your 50% share. What can you improve? Are you blaming your boss for the whole relationship? What behaviors can you adjust?

Take the first step: Don’t wait for your boss to start the conversation. Unfortunately, most bosses tend to address their employees when things are not going well.

The one who starts the conversation has more leverage.

Speak up: Have you ever mentioned to your boss you weren’t happy with your working relationship? Being transparent will earn you respect. Leaders admire employees that are mature and brave.

When you speak up, you show your commitment to making things better.

Ignore the fights: People at work get entangled in ego-driven relationships. That gets them nowhere. Your boss, just like you, is human. Be empathetic. Yes, there are many assholes that need to be fired. But, sometimes, people are going through rough times.

Don’t take it personal. Avoid the clash.

Rewrite rules of engagement: My friend was frustrated, rather than excited, with a new opportunity. After listening to his ranting, I realized that he loved the opportunity but was expecting “others” to provide the “right conditions”.

My advice was simple: “write your own rules and tell your boss that, in order to succeed in your new role, this is how you want to play and the things you need.” Once again, use your leverage.

Start your own business: Self-reflection will help you realize what’s really causing your frustration. In my case, at some point in my career, I realized no boss would ever give me the freedom I was looking for. I wanted to run a business with complete room for experimentation. That’s why I’ve launched my own.

Follow your path. But, if you don’t, avoid blaming your boss.

Find another job: If none of the above works, only then, move on. Quitting should never be the first option. Running away from a fire without trying to put it off first, is not smart. You’ll face new fires in every new job you land.

Try to fix your relationship with your boss before you slam the door.

Stretch, reflect & grow

This stretch is not easy but suffering a relationship that’s not working is much worse.

  • Get ready. Do your homework. Don’t just ask for your boss to change, show what you are willing to change yourself.
  • What’s your leverage in your current job? How can you use it in a non-threatening way?
  • What’s preventing you from speaking up? What’s your worst fear?
  • If you’ve already tried to fix things, have you tried enough?

Before You Go

Change happens one stretch at a time. Daily exercises to grow beyond your comfort zone.


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