20 Types of Tricky Bosses


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Some bosses are tricky. If you are landed with one, what can you do? Ros Jay, in his book " How to manage your boss" has the answers.

If you are one such tricky boss, STOP IT and CHANGE!

This is another module in the Managing Your Boss series

Wong Yew Yip

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20 Types of Tricky Bosses

  1. 1. Prepared by : Wong Yew Yip 20 Types of Tricky Bosses Source : How to manage your boss - Ros Jay
  2. 2. 2  Ask to repeat back what you’ve just said, with tact  Ask open questions (no yes or no answer) so he/she can’t simply mumble ‘Mmm’ at you absently  Get to the point quickly, briefly and succinctly  Get your comments, briefings or requests in writing or email The Boss who never listens You know your Boss is not listening to you, but you can’t start screaming, ‘Listen to me, dammit!’ without jeopardizing your position 1 What can you do?
  3. 3. 3  Often, all you need to do is ask - “Can you tell me what it’s for, and when it’s needed by?”  Make a point of asking open rather than closed questions  Ask question and then shut up until he/she answers - eventually the silence will become so uncomfortable you will get a reply The Boss who never communicates Without the necessary information you can’t do your job properly and the results can be devastating and demoralising 2 What can you do?
  4. 4. 4  Do it for yourself - you have to do your boss’s job in order to be able to do your own  Anticipate the problem and do what needs doing in plenty of time  When it comes to decisions or resources, write a brief report or proposal for your boss The Boss who never does anything You’ll never turn this boss into a powerhouse of frantic activity or decide anything, so there’s no point wasting your efforts trying to 3 What can you do?
  5. 5. What can you do? 5  Don’t get involved in an argument with your boss about his/her prejudice  Be armed with examples that contradict your boss’s prejudice - show by your example  Don’t inadvertently reinforce your boss’s prejudiced views The Boss who is prejudiced When your Boss judges you wrongly for something you have no control over, it is extremely frustrating and can damage your career 4
  6. 6. 6  Point out to your boss when the task is impossible and find a workable solution  This type of boss expects you never to make mistakes, so explain that you feel under undue pressure to be superhuman, and you need to be allowed to learn from your mistakes sometimes The Boss who is a perfectionist Boss wants not only perfection, but also in an unreasonable length of time, or at an unreasonable cost, forgetting vital factors 5 What can you do?
  7. 7. 7  You’re going to have to do some of the work yourself  Remind your boss in advance about meetings and appointments  Chase up for information/report the boss promised before deadline  Make your boss be aware of the potentially damaging consequences of his/her disorganization The Boss who is unorganized Boss won’t be able to find information you need, forget to turn up at meetings, promise something and then disappears 6 What can you do?
  8. 8. 8  Get as much of your own contribution to the organization down in writing as you can  Take ideas to the boss as proposals instead of verbally  Email/send memo to boss outlining concerns and recommendations for remedying problems  Get your achievements down in black and white The Boss who is no good at the job Boss incompetency adversely affect department performance and you can be viewed as incompetent as well 7 What can you do?
  9. 9. 9  Get achievements down in writing for when you need them - appraisals, promotion interviews  Encourage your boss to put instructions to you in writing, or email to your boss for confirmation  If your boss blames you for mistakes in public, don’t try to pass the blame back - accept the blame using “we” a lot instead of “I” The Boss who passes the buck (on to you) Boss blames others for own mistakes, in private and public. It is particularly annoying and can damage your career. 8 What can you do?
  10. 10. 10  Ask for more frequent performance reviews and feedback sessions after you complete projects well  Ask for rewards or recognition in advance  Find ways to motivate yourself  Work towards targets of your own or promise yourself a reward for certain achievements The Boss who is a poor motivator Boss shows little or no interest in your work whatever you do, or wields plenty of sticks but no carrots, recognition or rewards 9 What can you do?
  11. 11. 11  Don’t respond to a tantrum with emotion - remain cool and rational, and stick to facts  Don’t give in to your boss when he/she is having a tantrum  Any time you decide you’ve had enough, you’re entitled to leave, find an excuse  If you can, enlist the support of your colleagues The Boss who throws tantrums This kind of behavior is abusive, and there’s no reason why you have to stand for it 10 What can you do?
  12. 12. 12  Spell out for this boss exactly what you need from him/her to do the job and explain why  Put this list of requirements down in writing so the boss cannot claim ignorance  If things still wrong and your boss attempts to let you take the blame, you’re in a position to demonstrate that it wasn’t your fault The Boss who won’t back you up Gives you little or no support, and then steps back when things go wrong, leaving the full spotlight to fall on you 11 What can you do?
  13. 13. 13  Volunteer for extra responsibilities as often as you can  Ask for training and new responsibilities  Point out to your boss the advantages, for example, covering for other staff The Boss who won’t let you develop You want new challenges/fresh responsibilities. But your boss is happy for you to stay as you are, doing a good job. 12 What can you do?
  14. 14. 14  Get your boss to be specific, ask which aspects of the project won’t work, and why  Play on your boss’s fear of failure, point out why rejecting your idea would be riskier than accepting it  In moderation, negative comments are helpful - don’t dismiss all negativity out of hand The Boss who is negative Always looks on pessimistic side of things, tells you your ideas won’t work and outlook is always bleak - it’s demoralizing & demotivating 13 What can you do?
  15. 15. 15  Almost every control freak has one or two chosen people who he/she can trust - you just have to become one of the trusted few  Give a progress report even before the boss asks for it  Perform tasks exactly as the boss stipulates  Copy your boss’s style The Boss who is a control freak Checks up on you constantly, tells you exactly how to do each task, delegates little or nothing. You feel stifled and unable to develop. 14 What can you do?
  16. 16. What can you do? 16  Never tell the boss he/she is wrong - the best way to get them to see it is by asking innocent questions: “Can you explain . . .”  This type of boss is actually wrong quite often - when this happens, resist temptation to say, ‘I told you so’, and instead help your boss to save face  Make sure you get things right as often as is humanly possible The Boss who is always right Boss won’t listen to anyone else’s point of view, thinks he/she is always right. Once the mind is made, the subject is closed. Period. 15
  17. 17. 17  If your boss is stalling, there is some kind of conflict - ask what it is  If your boss is simply indecisive and puts off making decisions, try acting as an unofficial adviser and help to make the decision  Don’t pressure this kind of boss too hard - he/she may do anything just to get you off his/her back The Boss who stalls When you need a decision or to put your case to senior management, boss somehow wriggles, stalls, or just plain disappear 16 What can you do?
  18. 18. 18  Keep records of your ideas and suggestions and notes of relevant meetings with your boss  Get your ideas down as a formal proposal, with your name on the cover page, and the date  Let other people know about your ideas, either verbally or by copying to them anything you can justify, including your proposal The Boss who takes credit for your ideas This is infuriating and damaging to your career. If your good ideas aren’t recognised as your own, how can you be rewarded for them? 17 What can you do?
  19. 19. 19  Tell your boss you are not comfortable with the situation and something has to be done about it  If your boss refuses to stop and you decide to take action, make sure you can prove your allegations of dishonesty  Should your boss try to involve you in the dishonesty, refuse without moralising The Boss who is dishonest Telling lies to get out of trouble, or falsifying reports to make the figures or performances look better 18 What can you do?
  20. 20. 20  If it’s not too late already, don’t start working long hours. It’s a lot easier to say no in the first place  Don’t allow your boss to intimidate you into working unreasonably long hours - you have the right to refuse  Coming up with a reason for cutting down your hours, will be a big help  Prove that your performance is still good despite cutting down hours The Boss who believes in workaholism If your boss wants to work 18 hours a day, it’s really not your problem. But if you’re expected to join in, it can be a big problem. 19 What can you do?
  21. 21. 21  Try feedback with your boss who may be unaware of the problems he/she is causing  Anticipate what you’re likely to need so that when he/she is around, you can sort out all the things you’re going to need  Put all your requests as briefly as you can, so as not to waste what precious time you have with boss The Boss who is simply never there The boss is needed to make decisions, authorises things and solve issues - hard to achieve when your boss is never around 20 What can you do?
  22. 22. Thank You yewyip@gmail.com