One Sure Fire Way to Know You've Lost the Battle

Want one guaranteed way to lose every verbal battle you'll ever find yourself in?


You're arguing with an employee, team member, or other "underling". They're just not getting it. You're tired of the argument, so you whip out any of these gems to put an end to it once and for all: 

 "Do it because I'm the boss?" You already lost the battle.

"Do it because I'm the boss?" You already lost the battle.

"You need to do it because I said so."

"You don't need to know that because you're not a lawyer. I am."

"I'm the lieutenant and some times I just need you to do what I tell you to do."

I learned this one the hard way.  That last quote? It was mine.

I was in charge of a crew of volunteer EMTs and, as the crew chief and paramedic, they were my crew. My responsibility. I was charged with their welfare on scene, their training, their cohesion as a team, staffing, nose-wiping, and many other aspects of how we functioned as a crew. 

One call, after a particularly rough day, I found myself arguing with one of my stronger-willed but outstanding EMTs about something I had asked her to do. She didn't understand and I couldn't explain it to her, mostly because I was exhausted. Instead of asking her to give me some time to get rest and approach the conversation with the respect and consideration it deserved. Instead, I tried to explain and, when I failed to make myself understood, I resorted to position. 

"Do it because I'm the boss."

I saw it in her face. She shut down and lost all respect for me in the few seconds it took for me to speak those words. Our relationship never recovered. 

Was I in charge? Yes. Should she have listened? Yes. Was there a valid reason? I honestly don't recall. In the heat of the call and the years since it happened, I've forgotten most of the details. But the lesson stands out. 

When you have to resort to stating your superiority as a fact, when you have no other reason left for the other to listen, when you cannot persuade, when your sales skills have failed, when you give up  and announce, "I'm the boss..."

You have lost. 

Unless, maybe, you're a drill sergeant. In which case, you're right. I am a maggot.