Boss with Low Standards

Have a Boss With Low Standards? Here's What To Do

Some bosses just don’t seem motivated to perform at high levels. Nor do they seem interested in motivating their teams to perform at high levels. They’re quite happy, it seems, with mediocre — which can be a frustration for team members who would like to take a little more pride in their work.

Why would a manager have low standards?

It seems weird, right? Why wouldn’t a manager or supervisor want to set or maintain high standards? The performance of their team, after all, will ultimately reflect badly on them. There are a few possible reasons they might be okay with low standards:

1. They’re okay with mediocre

Some people actually think of achieving ‘mediocre’ as being a win. They simply might not feel capable of achieving more.

2.They doubt their teams’ abilities

They may not believe that their employees are capable of achieving higher standards.(rarely true).

3.They feel it’s not worth the effort

They may not see the benefits of raising the bar, and figure that their energies are better directed elsewhere.

4. They’re avoiding conflict

The most common reason is that most managers don’t like conflict, and find it easier to look the other way when someone’s work is sliding.

Two ways to deal with the low standard boss

If you have a boss who you feel isn’t asking enough of himself or his team, here are a couple of effective approaches:

A. When a specific situation occurs, gently, positively (and privately) point out the ways in which raising the bar will benefit them. Remember that people are most likely to accept suggestions when they are presented in context of their best interests.

This has the added benefit of sending the message to your bosses that you have their backs.

2. Set your own standard for your own work, and don’t waver from it. If the boss wants to fire you because you want to do a job too well, you might be better off without them anyway.

But first, do this

Before you do either of these things, it would be prudent to first take a good hard look at your own standards. Are they shared by other team members? Are they necessary? Are they productive? What is the payoff to them? We have to accept that there is always the possibility it is us, not the boss, with the issue.

We often have to strike a balance between getting things 100% right and getting things done. Excellence and perfection are very different things.

If you are a perfectionist, striving for unnecessary (or unattainable) results, you may get the warm fuzzy feeling of a moral high ground, but it is not an attitude that lends itself to working with a team.

If, after your introspection, you’re comfortable that its your boss’s standards that are genuinely the issue, take action! Otherwise you might be sentencing yourself to the very same mediocrity you see in your boss.

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