Sunday, May 3, 2015

Monthly Topic #28: Do You Work For A Jerk?

They lie, cheat and steal, howl and scream, ansd suck you dry before tossing you aside. Bad bosses: you can't live with them and you can't run them over, so here's how to cope with their problems personalities.

~Image Source: Business Insider Singapore~

Bad Boss Type: The Burglar

How To Spot Them:
This person happily adapts other people's ideas to advance his own career. You thought of a way to reduce office stationery overheads? Your boss is with the accountant right now, mouthing off about his cost-cutting plan. You have a great campaign idea for a client? Your boss is on the phone, telling them all about it. How will you ever get anywhere if your contributions aren't recognised?

Coping Strategy: If you're a member of the support staff, it can be very difficult. Try to document your ideas, keep them in a file and, when your appraisal comes around, point out that this is what you contributed and why you deserve a promotion or a raise. Another suggestion is to only put your ideas forward at staff meetings, when more than one person will hear them. If you're higher up the career ladder, put your suggestions in a memo or e-mail to your boss that you "cc" to other colleagues or supervisors. You can add a note saying, "This is an idea I had that I'd like input on from other people," to cover your reason for cc-ing it.

Bad Boss Type: The Swinger

How To Spot Them:
Easily confused with The Terrorist, but the difference is that this boss has moments of total approachability mixed with tantrums. Mandy, a 25-year-old architect, used to gauge her boss's mood by monitoring his coffees. Two double lattes and the door closed meant troule; a cappucino and leisurely browsing through the newspaper signalled his mood was sweet. He was tolerant and open to ideas; in the next instant, he screamed about even the simplest things. "You never really know what sort of day you were going to have," Mandy says. "I was constantly on edge."

Coping Strategy: Career advisers say the sanity-saving move here is to determine some kind of pattern to their behaviour. Then, when you've worked out when the bad moods are most likely to hit, the best thing you can do is to stay away. When you think the boss is in a good mood, that's the time to approach.

Bad Boss Type: The Vampire

How To Spot Them:
He feels it's his prerogative to call you at home at night or on weekends. And if he needs you to work late, or on Saturday, you'd better count yourself in. And if you have the bad luck to be his secretary, he'll want you to run his personal life, do his errands and lie to his partner too.

Coping Strategy: Before you take a job, you should find out if you'll be required to work weekends, or perform personal errands. If the answer is "sometimes", that means "yes". If you're managerial staff, you will probably want to come in on Saturdays or work late if required, to show that you are professional. However, this shouldn't be the case all the time. If you're support staff, ask if some of your work could be delegated elsewhere, or if there's anything you can start earlier in the day or week, to eliminate last minute panic. With personal errands, either make a game of it or look for another job. Some people like the chance to get out of the office, while others find such chores humiliating. If it's the latter, tell the boss you have work you need to finish, and that doing those errands will mean it doesn't happen.

Bad Boss Type: The Gal Pal

How To Spot Them:
No power trips or whip-cracking here - this boss just wants to be liked. It might start with a simple invitation to lunch. Next, it's dinner - soon you'll find it almost impossible to disagree with her over work issues. After all, you're friends. To her, that means unconditional support - something you may not always be willing to give.

Coping Strategy: It's good to work in a friendly place, but you need to know where to draw the line. However reluctant your boss is to lay down the law, she does need to exercise authority - and that means not getting too personal. Find reasons to gently refuse her invitations. While you don't want to be too aloof at work, you may want to politely let your boss know that you prefer to keep your personal and business lives separate.

Bad Boss Type: The Conspiracy Theorist

How To Spot Them:
You're called into the boss office's. She wants to know why you were talking to the MD in the lift today. In fact, you said, "Hello, which floor?" Trouble is, this boss is convinced you're out to get her job. She will treat good ideas with fear and suspicion, and will eyeball the outfit you wear to work if it's more expensive than hers, or if you look better in it. Watch out! If she suspects you're dressing for success, or sucking up to senior management, you'll be out of there faster than she can say, "You're fired!"

Coping Strategy: You have to give this boss positive feedback. Make sure she knows you admire and look up to her - reassure her that you're not after her job. Make sure she knows you're willing to be a part of her team, and you're not working hard just to outshine her.

Bad Boss Type: The Terrorist

How To Spot Them:
He yells. Screams. The office is a warzone. You leave the office with your head ringing and your hopes destroyed. Says Linda, a 27-year-old web designer. "it didn't seem to matter what I did, I couldn't please my boss. He'd argue about everything, even the most simple design points or ideas. And if I answered back, or in any way tried to defend myself, he'd go crazy."

Coping Strategy: The terrorist boss may have a basic personality disorder that dates back to when your boss was the school bully. Unfortunately, often the only solution is to leave. If you want to stick it out, you'll have to ensure your performance is constantly up to scratch, so there are fewer reasons for tantrums. You must also resist the impulse to fight back, or the battle will intensify. It's important that you try not to escape the situation. Remain calm and, when your boss has settled down, apologise if their anger was caused by something you did. If it wasn't, tell yourself that your boss's anger is not personal and try not to take it that way. You could also try going for a quick 10 minutes walk, by then, you should have cooled off a little and won't say anything you'll regret. Or try deep breathing, as you chant to yourself: "I will not kill my boss, I will not kill my boss..."


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