Overcoming dread: When your opinionated peer becomes your boss

A true story: About listening, teamwork and growth

Dreading that opinionated new boss?

ExpectationsImagine learning that a very obstinate peer is going to become your new boss. Yes – the opinionated one that is like a dog with a bone and just won’t drop a subject, and almost always opposes your point of view.

To say you are concerned is an understatement! That overwhelming dread you are feeling is fueled by RAW FEAR.

Two years after you survive that transition, you look back and realize:

  1. Your boss allowed you to express opposing ideas without fear: Yes – you disagreed a lot, both passionately and emphatically, but never disrespectfully. In spite of holding wildly opposing views– you were always allowed to speak your truth even if it was the opposite of what your boss was thinking. And he of course, always shared his opinions.
  1. Even though you didn’t always agree – he had your back: In the time that you worked for him you faced two huge issues. One would have impacted your personal life in a major way, and the other was impacting your professional life. In both cases you needed to be heard, and you needed someone at a higher level to stand with you. And he rose to the occasion without hesitation, without fear, without wavering. He not only got your back, he was instrumental in making the necessary change happen.
  1. He made wiser decisions – because you weren’t a “yes” man. Instead of telling him what you thought he wanted to hear you gave your honest opinion and backed it up with lots of data.
  1. Your strengths made him look good: Knowing that he heard you, respected you and had your back – motivated you to willingly leverage your greatest strengths to support him at a higher level – often reminding him about deadlines and details that he was not on top of.
  1. You were a great team. As you played to each other’s strengths, your entire team became more effective and more productive.

Focusing on strengths is the surest way to greater job satisfaction, team performance and organizational excellence. Marcus Buckingham

Please share:  Have you ever been filled with dread when you learned who your new boss would be?  …What happened?  


President, Giana Consulting

Chery Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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2 thoughts on “Overcoming dread: When your opinionated peer becomes your boss

  1. Great post Chery! I love how you spin this story into a positive experience…just because someone has different or opposing opinions doesn’t mean they are our enemy. Many times it’s all about how we frame the situation because when we look for a negative impact, guess what—we find it! Conversely, when we seek and find the positive in our situation, we usually find that as well.

    • So true LaRae!

      I facilitated a course years ago that emphasized how:
      Our focus drives our behavior
      Our behavior drives our results
      Our results drive our beliefs
      And our beliefs drive our focus
      As a result, we can spin forever focusing on the negative or choose another focus.

      Our choice!