At Work

Difficult bosses Part 2: When your boss is the problem

Your boss is the problem. Killing him at the office water cooler will not help. So, bolster your courage and talk to him face to face.

Here are some guidelines:

1 Plan a strategy of what you are going to say. Make a list of the things that trouble you.

2 Communicate your issues clearly and professionally with evidence. Be specific. For example, if your boss dumps too much work on you, back them up with the number of tasks assigned to you, the time given to complete them and so on.

3 Never cite other persons who feel the same way. If they have complaints, let them bring it up themselves.

4 Be polite and cordial. Don’t charge into your boss’s office with guns blazing. Never criticise or blame him. Avoid angry and antagonistic accusations. You seek a reconciliation of differences, so cast your issues in a positive way.

5 Practise keeping cool and speaking calmly. Put things across as though it may be your fault or error. Say something along these lines:

·“I feel I’m just not able to make the mark with you, as you never seem satisfied with my work.”

·“I thought I should try to talk to you to find out what I’m doing wrong and whether you can give me some help as to what you need, are looking for ...”

·“I feel somehow I may have made you angry about something, and I would really like to clear it up …”

·“I know we haven’t been getting on. But I do want us to, so I thought we could talk about it …”

A word of caution

You may feel it is impossible to talk to your boss — that’s why he’s a bad boss. If so, don’t talk to anyone else either. You need not defend your boss, but you cannot be a stake driver — those who drive stakes into him.

If you must rant and rave, do so to your partner or teddy bear. Don’t forget also that the Office Snoop is always willing to share good news such as your bad opinion of your boss, who will soon hear of it.

And if all fails, fleeing is always an option!

Bad bosses can make your life a living misery. So don’t just sit there and whine. If a transfer or promotion is unavailable, search for a new job. Live with it or take active measures to change something — either your situation or your boss.

Change yourself

Changing yourself and your mindset is good. That is a positive action. You could work on developing a second skin when it comes to your boss. Do so by creating a vacuum, a psychological and emotional space or a mental boss-free zone where he can’t get in and get at you.

Make sure you have a happy and full life after work. Throw yourself into activities you enjoy so you do not have to obsess about him. Take up a physical sport, such as boxing.

Change your boss

If you want to change your job, put out feelers immediately for happier pastures elsewhere. Don’t just accept a bad boss and waste what could be really happy and fulfilling years of working life.

Give yourself a chance to let a good boss bring out the best in you rather than the worst. Bad bosses can wear you out and affect your mental and physical health.

As management guru Peter Drucker pointed out 60 years ago: “Recognise that your success lies in how effectively you learn to manage your boss. Focus on creating win-win scenarios by playing to their preferences, their strengths and talents. Unless they are engaging in illegal or immoral activities, buttress them where they are weak and seek to help them be successful.”

Someone once said: “You can’t usually change your boss’s behaviour. You can only change yours to deal with what’s there. You manage your boss by managing yourself. You are not responsible for how your boss acts; you can only control yourself.” – Singapore Straits Times/Asia New Network

Article by Dr Arlene Bastion. She teaches and writes in the field of education and professional business communication. Extracted from Star Classifieds.