The Big Cheese—Your Boss! Let’s Say (S)He’s R-U-D-E

Your job is to serve The Big Cheese. If you are R-U-D-E and surly, you will get F-I-R-E-D. It’s that simple. A boss is not going to tolerate being treated with dis-respect.

I can’t tell you how shocked I’ve been at the behavior of some of the people I’ve managed, or at some of the stories of The Girls Who Call Me who got fired, and they freak out at the injustice of Italy, when it sounds to me like they were 100% responsible for their own undoing.

Once I was at a political convention interviewing celebrities. I told a subordinate to go and conduct an interview with a non-celeb while I, the boss, interviewed Aretha Franklin, who was standing right there. The guy flat-out refused because he wanted more Aretha exposure: “No,” said the suicidal subordinate. “I won’t do that.” Bad move.

Later that week, I called him in and practically sung: “You, are soooo fired.” And that was that. Dissing your boss in front of the queen of R-E-S-P-E-C-T—ding! ding! There goes the Irony Alarm!

A leader can NOT allow herself to be publicly challenged. So many of the Girls Who Call Me don’t get this part, they think, “Well, I was just angry and acted out. I’ll apologize and we’ll move on.” Nuh huh. It’s called flagrant insubordination.

I’m not saying that you always hafta suck it up. Hey, if your fed up, you are fed up. If you The Big Cheese is clearly out of line, and you are prepared to leave your job to defend yourself and hold onto your self-respect, go for it. When you feel you must go and take a hug out of The Big Cheese:

Do it in private. Do not contradict your boss in public, even if she pins blame on you that you don’t deserve. Let your feelings be knows, make a specific recommendation about how you would like to see this type of incident handled in the future, but don’t demand an apology.

Present your side calmly. If you disagree with a decision that The Big Cheese makes, you can go in her office and discuss it. BUT if it becomes a power struggle, 99% of the time, you will not win. To avoid the power issue, present your information in a way that suggests that you accept her decision, but that you have more information that you think will benefit her. If she will not listen, drop it.

If The Big Cheese is unusually cruel or critical or otherwise abusing her power, it might be time to consider calling her boss. However, my friends, you have to know that you should only go above your boss’s head when you have nothing to lose—I’m talking tossing in the apron, here.

What to do? My next newsletter….

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