Bosses can be like mothers, possessing an uncanny knack of identifying weakspots and how to drill into them, most painfully.
And our weakspots usually involve what we care most about being found out not to be.
In other words, weakspots almost always involve pride: the top quality in your self-image that you will defend to the hilt, as it means so much to you.
Typical boss hacks include:
‘Yes, I read your report…interesting. Did you know you’ve spelt collaboration wrongly 3 times on page 79?’
2.Your love of control
‘Oh dear. Your project team are in chaos aren’t they? Should I come along and give them a steer?
3.Your need for acceptance
‘Yes, I’ve been talking with some of the other directors and we’re not sure you barking up the right tree with this strategy’
‘Well it’s good idea, but it’s been done many times before and never worked’
In a wonderful adult-to-adult relationship with your boss, you would discuss your prized value and how their undermining of it makes you vulnerable. The boss would then alter their behaviour.
But real life doesn’t often work like this and with a well-defended boss there is no point tackling the subject. Much wiser to learn acting technique in order to undermine what your boss thinks is their character assessment of you.
Your Campaign of Rebuttal
Some script ideas:
1.the competence hack: ‘Spelling? That was never my strong point.. have you read the devastating conclusion in my report I wonder?
2.the control hack: ‘I always think my team are at their most creative and resourceful when they’re in disarray like this. And they’d love your input I’m sure’ (avoid clenched jaw and gritted teeth here)
3.the acceptability hack: ‘I’d love to talk with each of these directors and get their constructive input . Would that be possible?’
4.the originality hack ‘Yes, you can’t reinvent the wheel can you? You’re right we should play safe. What’s your tried and tested suggestion may I ask?’
Your main purpose is to undermine their confidence in their assessment of you. You don’t have to deliver an Oscar winning performance, just throw them a googly.
Seeing you crumple is the carrot for their hacks. Take that reaction away and they may end up one confused bunny who goes off to hack elsewhere.