I spent a large part of my life in Corporate America, and I did so on both sides of the coin. From your front line manager and all the way to executive positions. When I started putting the patterns together, I realized that there is a secret code out there that no one talks about but everyone in the know seems to know. Here are 5 of those things your boss is doing that may seem random but are far from it.
He/she will call you instead of answering an email:
Funny, how a long string of email about an on-going issue will typically result in a phone call to end it all. You will typically hear something like “I didn’t want to keep going back and forth” but what it really means is “I didn’t want to be held liable for what I am about to say, and I will deny saying it”. While you may think that your boss cares so much that he wanted to help you solve your issue quickly, the reality is that he simply wanted to cover his ass so he could play the denial game if things went sour. What you may not know is that they actually teach you to not answer emails in the HR executive class they put your through when you join their ranks.
He/she will recognize you in public even when you haven’t done anything extraordinary:
You may suck at something really bad, but may get recognized for your wonderful efforts and wonder why? Well, its not random and its not because your BOSS likes you. Its their way to tell HR that they make an effort to see you succeed and that others are a witness to it. While they may not approve of you, how you work, and what you accomplish, they will publicly recognize you to gain public support. No different than politician tricks that are nowadays obvious to the public. So if you are getting recognition for your poor work, start questioning what your boss’ motives are. You might be on his list of people to get rid of.
He/she will tell you they don’t know, but HR will:
In most instances your boss is well aware of all their employee issues. While they may act shocked or surprised, they are really far from it as it is HR’s responsibility to escalate to the next line of business CEO each and every time. While you may seem to want guidance from your supervisor, your supervisor wants to make sure he is not implicated into anything you get caught up in. There is a danger that if you do something that gets you hurt, they will too.
He/She will ask you a question saying they know the answer:
If your boss ever tells you that they need to ask you something but they already know the answer, well that’s a lie too. If your boss already had proof or knew the answer, they wouldn’t be asking you anything. As a matter of fact, the only reason they ask is because they don’t know anything but have heard something. Someone once told me this and I didn’t believe it, but believe me when I say ”Deny, Deny, Deny” – It is the best strategy to ensure you don’t fall victim to poor minded enemies at work
He/She will speak large, but use others as a reason to act small:
Saying that your boss is selling pipe dreams may be going a bit too far but not that far from the truth. While your boss may speak of succession plan with you and how you are the perfect fit to take over their life, you certainly are not the only one they are selling that dream to. The reality is that it is typically the only way they know how to motivate someone, by selling them a bright future. The way you typically know if they will go through with it is that they will use very specific words in your reviews to remind you of the power they hold, but they will not act on. You may hear them say that “since you are not accomplishing this, then I can’t do that…” or even reminding you that “in a few months, your promotion will be up and I can’t do this without you doing that…” The reality is, these tricks even if completed, will land you in something called “pushing the blame upwards” which means in corporations that blaming their boss’ lack of approval will make them look better for not delivering on their promise. They may even start with saying, “I will recommend you but the final decision is not mine after all.”
There is nothing wrong with corporate America as a means to employment but don’t fall for the bureaucracy and ongoing bullshit people feed you. Understand that no matter what company it is and how great it is, it is only that way because of the people that are there. Identify the real leaders from the bullshit wannabe managers and even then, trust no one but your own intuition. More importantly never get drunk off the cool aid. Only sip on it, so others think you are drinking it when you still remain in control.