Guest post by Dr. Gary North.
The secret of not getting fired is to get on your boss’s shortlist: “Do Not Fire.”
There are lots of recommendations. These had better be on your shortlist.
1. Lighten your boss’s load.
2. Make him as much money as you possibly can.
3. Stand up for him.
4. Give him credit.
5. Minimize his faults or weaknesses.
6. Defend him publicly, confront privately.
For explanations, go here.
If you have a boss for whom you are unwilling to do these six things, then you need to get another boss. I realize that some people have bosses who simply are not worth standing up for and supporting. Anyone who finds himself under the supervision of such a person should begin to make plans to get out from under that person’s jurisdiction.
In this world, each of us is in need of people who will back us up. The common phrase is this: “I have your back.” If you do not have anyone who has your back, you are extremely vulnerable. This is why you have an obligation to cultivate subordinates who will regard you with the same sense of commitment that your boss would like from you. You want extended upward to you what your boss wants extended upward to him.
If you are unwilling to extend this kind of support, then this will begin to affect the performance of those people who were under your jurisdiction. Ultimately, in the corporate chain of command, you are a representative of your boss. Your subordinates support of you is also the support of your boss. You are an intermediary between your boss and them. You are a representational agent upward and downward. This is the meaning of every hierarchy.
Extending support to your superior is an aspect of what is sometimes called the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Here is the King James Bible’s rendering of Jesus’s words: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
When employment gets tight, as it will the next recession, and corporate headquarters sends down an order to the heads of departments that they must see to it that heads must roll, you want to be on the short list of the protected heads. When it is time for your boss to start firing people, you do not want to be one of the people fired. This is obvious, but employees do not think about this during the boom phase of the business cycle. They start thinking of it in the bust phase, but that is too late for the 20% at the bottom. The Pareto curve is always there, threatening the survival of those in the bottom 20%.
Notice what is NOT on the list: the willingness to work over 40 hours a week for a fixed salary. That had better not go onto your list. If you are systematic about fulfilling the list of six characteristics, you may be able to avoid adding the seventh.