When the Boss Is Wrong: A Self-Storage Manager's Professional Guide to Finding Middle Ground With Superiors

By Gina Kudo Comments
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Building Respect and Trust

What if you don’t have a good rapport with your boss? Don’t fret. It can be developed. Interpersonal relationships require mutual respect and trust. Your boss is already showing you trust—he trusts you with his facility. You know your paycheck arrives promptly so, in a subliminal way, you trust your owner too. Continue on that path and think about other ways you trust one another. If you find there are places where there’s no trust, move in a positive direction to rectify it.
Respect is another trait that’s very important in any relationship. Even if you don’t believe your owner is the sharpest tack, he does own a business and you are working for him, so respect that he’s made a few good decisions in his life. He did hire you, didn’t he?

Open Communication Lines

Another critical element is opening the door for honest conversations with your owner. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to meet with him off site in a non-work-related environment. This is the time to present issues important to you, your site and your owner.  Meeting outside of the trappings of your office provides a place where the flow of conversation won’t be interrupted by customers or co-workers.

Another benefit: You won’t be stressed about “performing per script” as you would in an office setting. An offsite location is conducive to a more laid-back dialogue. In this comfortable locale, armed with your facts, figures and research put together in a professional manner, you’ve got the start of a great way to address a concern or combat a bad idea.
Plan ahead, get your bids, suggestions or other items in place before the meeting, then review and study them. Analyze your own perspective, and have someone play devil’s advocate for you. Put yourself in your owner’s position while reviewing the appropriate topic. What other information might you ask in his position? Get the answers and be ready to share what you’ve learned.

Don’t write volumes, instead focus on bullet points that are easy to present with one- or two-sentence leads. For example, “I believe we need to consider addressing this issue. Please take a look at these bids (or ideas or my reasons) at your earliest convenience and let me know your thoughts.” Then drop the subject and move on to a friendlier, non-threatening topic of conversation such as the latest game scores or a new play in town.

Be a Team Player

Despite your best efforts to turn any idea or project around, there may still come a time when you feel the boss is completely wrong. What do you do? You have two choices: sit back and watch his concept potentially fail, or jump in with both feet and help. One of two things will occur: Your owner will realize you were correct after all, and may then appreciate that you were so astute and on target. Or, by jumping in despite your take on the situation, you’ll show yourself to be a true professional and a real team player. Either way, you must give the owner’s ideas a chance to succeed or fail as they may.
People sometimes have to learn by making mistakes, and your owner is no different. As adults with the perceptiveness of hindsight, we know when we “would have, could have or should have” in past decisions if given a second chance to rectify our errors.

What’s the absolute worst that can happen by trying even a really bad idea? Sure, there may be an “I told you so” moment, which you, of course, will not use as an opportunity to gloat; and you could even be slightly embarrassed along the way. On the other hand, you could learn something new, make a friend, or discover a new skill.

Be a team player, even when you think someone else is completely wrong. You can prove to yourself and your team that you’ll put forth 110 percent even if you disagree, and you’ll gain respect along the way. How you overcome objections or less-than-optimal ideas by others within your organization is something you should accomplish through tact, grace and compassion. You have nothing to lose, but much to gain by working together in a non-threatening, mutually respectful manner.

Gina Six Kudo is the general manager of Cochrane Road Self Storage in Morgan Hill, Calif. She has more than 16 years of self-storage experience and a strong customer-service and sales background. She can be reached at 408.782.8883; e-mail gina@cochranestorage.com , visit www.cochranestorage.com .

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