Dealing with a Difficult Boss, Part II

[Career Essentials] Newsletter March 1, 2021


Welcome, new subscribers and loyal readers!

We’ve just been hit with our first snow of the year. Winter has finally arrived with a roar!

To warm up, we had a fun reunion with friends Meryl, Gerry, Bonnie and Mick. Stan made a delicious lamb stew, we watched videos and had a great time. Here’s a photo of us enjoying the afternoon together.

This month’s feature article is Dealing With a Difficult Boss, Part 2. In it, I detail two more types of bosses — The Egomaniac and the Risk Averse Boss — and how to deal with them. See if you recognize your boss…

Starting on March 1st and running for four consecutive Thursdays, from 3-3:45 pm, I will be the guest expert on Lorraine Cohen’s Radio Show. Thank you, Lorraine, for giving me this opportunity!

You’ll be able to listen to the shows online at Internet Voices Radio, or stream them online afterwards. We’ll be tackling the following topics:

· Managing a Difficult Boss - March 1
· Office Politics & Handling Conflict - March 8
· Career Confusion - Stay or Go? - March 15
· Loving What You Do - Finding Your Passion - March 22

You won’t want to miss them!

Until next time, make it a vibrant March!

To Your Success,

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Feature Article

Dealing with a Difficult Boss, Part II

Last month, I discussed two types of bosses: The Screamer and The Hypocrite. If you missed that issue, you can read it at February Issue 2007.

This month, I’m tackling The Egomaniac and The Risk Averse Boss.

You’ve probably found that no two bosses are the same. Trying to manage different bosses in the same way is a recipe for disaster. You must tailor your approach, tone and language for each boss. Here are tips on handling two other unique boss archetypes.

The Egomaniac

Does your boss suck up all the air in the room? An inflated personality is often part of entrepreneurial DNA. This type of boss wouldn’t be where she is without the drive and single-mindedness that catapulted her vision from an idea into reality. However, when an oversized ego defines her management style and overpowers team members, it becomes your problem.

Dealing with the Egomaniac

First, sometimes you need to let the boss take the credit (even if it was your idea). Okay, I can hear you saying “no way!” The reality is your job is to make her look good to clients and/or her boss. You need to do whatever it takes to help her achieve her goals (within ethical boundaries, of course). From her success, flows your success.

Second, don’t let your being miffed at her taking the credit cloud the big picture. The big picture means helping her become successful so you can ultimately get what you want/need. It amounts to delaying immediate gratification for a bigger prize later. So, hold your tongue and communicate your personal goals to your boss when the timing is right.

Tip: you can always let her know after the presentation that you were so pleased one of “your” ideas played a role in winning the account or having the project turn out so well. Watch the tone of your voice. Make sure you don’t sound sarcastic or mocking. Your boss will understand what you are implying.

However, if your boss consistently overlooks your contributions, or if you are never recognized, then it’s time to start documenting your ideas. The cream always rises to the top and you can take your expertise to organizations where it will be appreciated. Until then, being a team player is the name of the game.

The Risk Averse Boss

He/she has zero comfort with risk taking. Any suggestions for streamlining or improving a procedure are met with a lukewarm reception.

Further, you feel like you are carrying your boss. The day they were doling out the genes for drive and ambition, your boss was AWOL. He/she doesn’t lead or contribute and does the minimum amount necessary. Whenever you bring up a new idea or project, it never gets anywhere. This type of boss has no desire to move to the next level. And zero desire to help you get ahead.

Dealing with the Risk Averse Boss

Your job is to help your boss get comfortable with risk. Suggest possible scenarios, starting with low risk alternatives, to ease your boss into the process. Your boss may need to see the advantages in written form, with the pros outweighing the cons. Strengthen your case by lining up people who will support your suggestions. Take the time to build a strong case, one that makes it easy for your boss to say yes.

A Final Note

Learning the techniques necessary to thrive despite having a difficult boss will serve you well over the span of your entire career. Chances are, somewhere in your work life you will have a boss who challenges your patience and sanity. Building a time-tested arsenal of methods to handle this challenge is a transferable skill of the first order.

About Dale:

Dale Kurow, M.S. is an author and a career and executive coach in NYC. She works with clients across the U.S. and internationally, helping them to become better managers, figure out their next career moves and thrive despite office politics. Click here for more information about her services.

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