Am I My Worst Boss? - Proteus Leadership | Leadership Article
1300 219 903

Am I My Worst Boss?

If your boss spoke to you the way you speak to you, would you continue to work for them?

The answer to this question reveals the quality of our own internal language, our beliefs about self, our future and the explanations of our worlds.

We are so quick to hang so much on the words of a few, yet possibly the most important words come from within. These words and their powerful messages shape our lives.

In the mid 1950’s Albert Ellis developed what we now call Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. His core theory is that it’s not the events that happen to us that are most important, rather our thinking around the events.

Faulty thinking = failure disposition

The good news is we can change the way we think! As humans we have the incredible ability to self assess, to stand back from ourselves and examine our thinking.

Our ‘self-talk’, or how we explain events has very practical implications:

“Recently, an American shoe factory sent two marketing scouts to a region of Africa to study the prospects for business expansion. One sent back a telegram saying, ‘situation hopeless stop, no one wears shoes.’ The other wrote back excitedly, ‘glorious business opportunity stop, they have no shoes!”

I wonder what decision the board made?

Another more ancient example, from a small Hebrew tribe that sent two scouts to view the land ahead:

“Upon return the first scout reported, ‘It’s a great land, but we cannot enter as there are giant people and we are like grasshoppers.’

The second scout reported, ‘Let’s move in and conquer the giants, the land is ours for the taking!”

It’s not our eyes that deceive us. In both examples they saw the same things, bare feet and giants. Our great challenge is in our ability to explain what we see and this happens in our minds. Our inner stories!

The explanations and stories we give ourselves often need to change. The best place to start is with what we believe. Our beliefs determine how we behave and in turn what we build into our lives. The first revealing question to ask is:

Do I believe my best days are ahead of me?

The answer to this question has powerful outcomes. The positive assumption is that we do believe our best days are ahead of us! And if this is true, the second revealing question is:

What does (can) my future look like?

The power in answering this second revealing question on the foundation of ‘my best days are ahead of me,’ is clarity. Clarity about our future is the rocket fuel for hope, and hope builds. The third, and most practically revealing question is:

How am I moving towards that future?

Answers to this third provocative question will be practical, real and tangible. The ‘big picture’, or just future ideas, is not enough; we need to know what we can do today to start to move in that direction.

These simple powerful steps will either confirm or deny our beliefs and the practical will always challenge the theoretical.

The shoe company needed to see the opportunity and then begin the tireless effort to enter the African market. The little Hebrew tribe needed to see the land and then fight for it. Seeing will always be different to being.

So, if your boss spoke to you the way you speak to you, would you continue to work for them? Why not become your best boss! Back yourself. Know what you believe and build toward your future.

By James Koch


Proteus Leadership is one of Australia’s premier leadership training and development companies. Proteus Leadership provides leadership courses and management training to a range of industries and assists organisations to build positive workplace cultures, implement change and Create Great Leaders. Proteus also facilitates a range of world-class management courses, workshops, conferences and events across Australia and beyond with the sole purpose of bringing leaders together to connect and grow.

“Our core purpose is to Create Great Leaders that will in turn build Great companies and develop Great teams.”