A boss you can’t work with is a nightmare. But here are a few tips that would probably help you deal with your troublesome boss.
A fast-twitch manager may have trouble letting you finish your sentences, which is not only annoying to you but reinforces for them the idea that they don’t have to have all the information to make a good decision.
You have to stop your manager when they interrupt you, or you will train them like one of Pavlov’s dogs to interrupt whenever a random thought strikes them.
There are lots of polite ways to say “Hold on there, you interrupted me!” Here are a few of them:
• Just to finish that thought, here’s what I was saying…
• Hold on one second, so I can close this loop…
• Excuse me Boss, I want to make sure you hear this part…
• That’s a good thought Boss — let me just make this point…
Forgetting what you tell them
Mother Nature gives the best lessons, and nearly all of us have learned at one point or another not to rely on our boss to remember everything (or anything) we’ve told them. They forget.
Sometimes your boss peers at you intently during your entire conversation and makes thoughtful and helpful interjections, so you figure you and your boss are on the same page and the same paragraph.
Wrong! Everything you and your boss talked about flew out of your manager’s head the minute the conversation was over. Not only do you need to put things in writing but you need to verbally remind your boss of the things you’ve talked about, too.
Your manager supervises lots of things and potentially numerous people, and you have to reinforce the ideas, plans, commitments, themes and currents that are most important to you if you want your manager to remember them.
Often people who lose their temper at work immediately forget they did so, even just a few minutes later. Some people are wired that way.
You’ll say “Do you think we should talk about the blow-up at last week’s staff meeting, when we get together for our department lunch on Friday? It could be awkward otherwise,” and your boss will ask “What blow-up? Was there a blow-up at the staff meeting?”
You can set him straight and say “We have to get back to neutral energy. You can walk around and talk to the few folks whose feelings were hurt in the staff meeting. Tell them you’re sorry that things got so heated. That will do wonders.”
You’ll grow your muscles when you find your voice and gently nudge your manager to stay aware of his or her impact on people’s emotions and to practice empathy, something all of us can do.
Running hot and cold
Some managers fall very easily into the “Rah Rah Zone” and cheer their teammates on when things are going well. When things aren’t going so well the same manager can become quiet, sullen and disapproving. You never know how to predict what a manager like this will do or what he or she will say.
Such hot and cold bosses can do you a lot of good. You’ll realize that you have a lot more power to drive your career by yourself than entrusting your career to a hot-and-cold boss. Work your own career plan diligently, growing your resume, keeping the hot and cold boss at a safe distance. Don’t expect him to be your coach or mentor. Coach yourself.
Playing the friend card
In many places work is more casual now than it used to be. The line between work and home is getting more and more blurry. Some managers operate on a friendly level with their employees and that’s great, but it’s not great when a boss plays the friend card like this:
Your boss asks you to do a report on short notice over the weekend, says “I’m asking you as a friend” but that is not appropriate. That’s not friendship — it’s soft-shoe bullying, and it’s not appropriate in any workplace.
Tell your boss that if you don’t recharge this weekend you won’t be productive or even healthy next week. Tell him that you worked your tail off this week and you need to relax in the weekend.
Adapted from an article in Forbes