Jun 5, 2013

How to Get What You Want From an Unreasonable Boss

Esther, the Queen of Persia who saved the Jewish people from annihilation in the fifth Century BC, is a master at tackling problems at work.

To start, she understands how to influence an irrational, pompous boss. If she were alive today, she’d offer a pricey yet wildly popular seminar: How To Get What You Want From An Unreasonable Boss.

She makes it look so easy with a simple, three-step formula:     

Step One:  Take the Initiative

Esther doesn’t wait around for her boss, King Xerxes, to fix a crisis. When she learns the Jewish people are in danger – and that a plot to destroy the Jews is brewing in the King’s inner circle – she quickly takes action. Never mind that the King doesn’t like to be interrupted when he is busy sitting on his throne. Never mind that the penalty for approaching him in the royal throne room without an invitation is possibly death. Esther takes action.

Esther shows us that taking the initiative at work means having the guts to walk into the boss’s office and make the ask. That doesn’t mean being pushy or disrespectful. Instead, Esther starts a dialogue and exercises spiritual discernment.

Don’t think she acts lightly. The King is known to banish women who don’t follow his orders.  So she doesn’t barge into the throne room and make a demand. Instead, she and her maids fast for three days before she acts. Yet she doesn’t use “praying about it” as an excuse to remain passive. Changing the status quo requires initiative.

Step Two:  Know Your Audience

Esther knows exactly who she is talking to. King Xerxes is easily influenced by wine and beautiful woman, so she takes great pains to approach the King under his terms. Esther doesn’t whine or stomp her feet. Instead of demanding the King’s attention, she crafts a master plan. In an act of brilliance, she invites the King to dinner.

By putting the King in a situation where he is comfortable, he is more likely to say yes. Let’s face it, most bosses are likely to give a favorable response it they are happy and well fed. Why corner the boss after a long, miserable day of work?

In addition to carefully choosing her venue, Esther speaks to the King with deference and respect. Rather than blurting out, “You must help me now!” she calmly invites the King to a banquet in his honor. She also uses a salting technique to get his attention. By keeping the King in anticipation, she is able to stir his curiosity and build suspense.

Step Three:  Timing Is Everything

Esther is patient. She doesn’t rush the question, and something in her spirit tells her the timing isn’t quite right. Yet she doesn’t back down or abandon her work. Instead, she invites the King to a second banquet before she requests his favor. She doesn’t wait a week, or a month – she schedules the next banquet the very next day. This keeps her on task and focused on her work.

Esther recognizes the King’s humanity. He’s not just a boss; he’s a man with unique physical and spiritual issues. Like every boss, the King has good days and bad days. In this instance, Esther’s patience gives God time to change the King’s heart. At this second banquet, the King’s spirit has softened. It is now or never, and Esther knows that a window of opportunity – one that she has worked so hard for – must be taken.

Now, Esther is more than ready to ask. And her boss is ready to say,”Yes.”

Post by Susan DiMickele.

Image by Araceli Arroyo. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr.

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