July 7, 2011
Do you have a bad boss? If so, have you done anything about it?
A survey by worldwide staffing service OfficeTeam found that 46 percent of U.S. workers polled said their boss is unreasonable—but 24 percent admitted they wouldn't do anything about it. That's probably due to an unsettling economic climate, says Fran Liontakis, an OfficeTeam regional vice president.
"We're hearing about more bad bosses lately because the demands on the workers are so high in this recession," she adds. "This is nothing new, but it seems to be more prominent now."
Here are Liontakis' five types of challenging bosses, plus tips for how to cope with them.
"This is one who has a tendency to look over your shoulder to make sure you are doing exactly as you're told, and has trouble delegating tasks," says Liontakis. "Trust is usually the issue with these kinds of managers."
Tip: "Keep them apprised of your accomplishments. Be sure to do this more often than you would with other managers. That way they will gain confidence in your abilities because you're being proactive."
The poor communicator
"Little or no direction is provided with this type of manager," Liontakis says. "Assignments often have to be re-done or completed last minute because goals are unclear or deadlines are vague."
Tip: "Let them know what you need in terms of direction and feedback because it won't be driven by that manager. The initiative falls on the employee, which seems awkward because there is a perception it should be provided by the supervisor, but by doing this up front both sides will avoid undue stress."
"This is a supervisor who undermines the efforts of others and doesn't recognize a job well done. They will take credit when all goes well or pass the blame when things go awry."
Tip: "Make sure your contributions are visible to others, especially senior management, because otherwise they could be overlooked," Liontakis advises. "Also, try to get as much information as possible in writing from this person so you have a chain of communication when needed."
The mixed bag
"You never know what you're going to get with this manager. They could be friendly one minute and demanding and cold the next."
Tip: "Be the steady presence. You need to understand that their behavior has little or nothing to do with you so don't take it personally. Remain calm and composed when interacting and set the tone. And try to limit communication to urgent matters."
"This boss wants it done their way or no way," Liontakis says.
Tip: "Stick up for yourself and present your case coolly but confidently. As long as you can support the rational to your decision, this type of boss tends to relent when hearing the voice of reason. Anticipate questions and be prepared to defend your stance."
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