Dealing with a Difficult Boss, Part II
I discussed two types of bosses: The Screamer and The Hypocrite. If you
missed that issue, you can read it at February
I’m tackling The Egomaniac and The Risk Averse Boss.
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.
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.
with the Egomaniac
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.
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.
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.
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.
Risk Averse Boss
zero comfort with risk taking. Any suggestions for streamlining or improving
a procedure are met with a lukewarm reception.
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
with the Risk Averse Boss
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.
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.