Let’s say you dislike your boss or a peer (this might be an understatement, by the way). They might be ineffective, a micromanager, unsupportive, have anger issues, or have other “flaws” that drive you crazy.
They’ve just had some feedback from someone or several people in the organization about their need to improve, and they approach you to tell you about the feedback they’ve received. This feedback wasn’t good (no surprise to you), and it’s taken all the courage they can muster to tell you about it. They’ve asked for your support to help them to improve; a little encouragement when they do things right, a respectful reminder when they don’t.
The leaders I work with are taught to request feedback – from me and from those around them. The feedback they receive tends to be “good news/bad news” – some of it positive, some of it indicating the leader has “gaps” in their leadership behaviors.
They see this feedback as a helpful tool to help them to get better at what they do by using their strengths and becoming aware of their gaps. They learn to ask for ongoing feedback during their self-improvement journey as a way to gauge their progress.
But sometimes, like the boss or the peer you dislike, the gaps are bigger than their strengths.
Despite the size of the gaps, your boss or peer wants to get better at leading. So they build a support network by letting others know what their goals are for personal professional improvement (a humbling experience for them by the way).
Lucky you, you’ve been asked to support your dislikeable boss or peer as they work to improve themself. Will you?
You dig in your heels. You’ve had enough of *name the gap here* from your manager or peer. Why should you support him/her when they’ve given you nothing but grief?
Because, like you, your boss or peer can change. Like you, they are a bundle of possibility. Like you, they want others to support them and believe that they can change. Not to mention that when they do, your life will improve too.
Like you, they are human, and want to be the best possible human being they can.
And when you don’t participate or support someone in their efforts to become a better human being, you become part of the problem. For people to change, others around them have to believe they can. Change is hard. They need encouragement and support for small and big successes.
Isn’t that what you’d want?