At Work

Difficult bosses Part 1: Are you the problem?

Two kinds of bosses exist: one from heaven, the other from hell. The former are cause for happiness in the workplace. Many people won’t be lured elsewhere even for plenty of cash because they love working with their boss. It’s the ones from hell that workers are worried about.

Some bosses are just inexperienced, living in another time zone or are always on the golf course. Some may just be clueless about how to lead and manage others.

But, are they really bad bosses?

Some characteristics they may exhibit include treating staff unfairly and misusing power. They may also play favourites, covering up for their favourites’ poor work to the detriment of others.

They may be intimidating and even abusive. They may even be functionally incompetent, and they may be continually nitpicking, fault-finding, lack integrity, break promises or are dishonest. The list is endless.

Besides feeling sorry for yourself, you can:

1 Give him a chance

Try to get along with your boss. Bad or not, he’s the most important person in your working life. You report to him, and he is the person who supervises your work, determines the quality of your future and whether or not you have one.

Bosses also have issues and problems. You’re in a pressure cooker of work and so is he. Is there a way you may be of support to him and work with him, rather than against him?

2 Look at yourself

Step away from your prejudices and see things from his point of view. Question whether you aggravate your boss and whether your attitude, performance or manner brings out the worst in him. Bosses from hell are sometimes created by employees from hell.

Here are some examples:

·Lateness. Lateness implies unprofessionalism, unreliability and bad attitude. Everyone has late days once in a while, but those who have to watch out are those whose late days are from Monday to Friday.

·Lack of initiative. Bosses dislike staff who need their hands held every step of the way. They pester the boss with silly questions about the details they just received and misconstrue directions and instructions.

Sooner or later, the boss starts to think, “If I need to tell this person what to do and how to do it, I may as well do it myself. In which case, why am I paying him?”

·Wrong information. Bosses hate it when they are given inaccurate information, especially when they convey it to others. They look silly, as if it was their fault when it’s yours. They hate having to point out wrong figures, outdated statistics, inaccurate, inadequate information.

All these are strong signals of sloppiness and incompetence. Continued sending of these signals will signal a departure — yours.

·Bad attitude. Bosses do not like working with those who have absolutely no passion and interest in their work, who are not motivated, who cannot be bothered or who just cannot care less.

This is evident in shoddy work, laziness, missed deadlines and surliness when given a task.

If you are guilty of any or all of the above traits, then you are the problem, not your boss. You have to shape up or ship out.

But if you are a good worker and your boss’s behaviour is demoralising you, you have to take the next step. – Singapore Straits Times/Asia New Network

Article by Dr Arlene Bastion, who teaches and writes in the field of education, and professional business communication. These excerpts are from her latest book, The Book Of Jobs. Article extracted from Star Classifieds.