Wellness & Fitness

How do I make my selfish boss understand that work is service without sounding rude?


A hostile or toxic work environment is a precursor to stress and other mental health conditions. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

One of the things most ignored in air travel is, paradoxically one of the most common and often misunderstood instructions.

Some find it too repetitive and do not listen while others comment on the poor public address system so common in aeroplanes.

Travellers are instructed to wear their own face masks first before attempting to help others in the event of a drop in cabin pressure.

This, is despite the natural instincts of parents, in particular, to help their children first under most circumstances where the child is faced with potential danger.

In an aeroplane, this one instance the act of self-preservation, is of itself an act of kindness, in that it is only when she is alive that a parent can protect the child.

It is therefore important to consider the circumstances in which your boss seems to be acting selfishly at work.

There is the possibility, however remote, that he might know something about the workplace that you might be unaware of.

That said, there are many instances where one finds themselves in a situation such as you are in where even after evaluating all the facts, the boss still turns out to be acting selfishly and sometimes to the clear detriment of all concerned.

Depending on the circumstances of your employment, including your seniority, the time you have worked in the company, and your relationship with other members of staff, you might be able to discuss your concerns about the workplace with a trusted colleague.

It might surprise you to hear that you are not the first to express such concerns and that the matter is already with HR and that the big boss is on his way out before the end of the year.

On the other hand, your colleague could shed light on the fact that this selfish person enjoys the political patronage of the Chairman of the Board and that he is truly untouchable.

It might also turn out that you are the only one who thinks that this person is selfish and that all the other members of staff find him kind and approachable.

Simply by talking to someone who has a different perspective from you could lead you to all manner of possible ways of looking at the same problem.

An interesting angle to your question is the fact that you are concerned about not appearing rude in doing what you believe to be the right thing.

This hints at the possibility that you are a self-aware individual keen to do the right thing and not rock the boat.

Is it possible therefore that it is your rather a perfectionist nature that is a problem?

The seemingly easy question you have asked has led us to the virtual conclusion that no simple or single approach will work in all cases.

What must now be clear to you is the fact that before you do anything in these circumstances, you should first look at yourself and what you bring to the table in the problem, seek the help of those close to you to try to understand the workplace dynamics and also seek to find the different ways a problem such as this can be resolved amicably.

It is well known that a hostile or toxic work environment is a precursor to stress and other mental health conditions and therefore you must not ignore the negative emotions that clearly afflict you.

It is also important to point out that there are selfish, insecure individuals who go to the workplace for self-glory and do not seem to care about the feelings of others.

Put differently, your feelings at work are valid and you must not allow a spouse or parent to push you into a toxic work environment without due examination of the facts as outlined above.

In practice, we see people who have been forced by well-meaning but ignorant loved ones to stay in places they should have left for the sake of their mental health.

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