Sunday, January 10, 2010

By Veronica Carrillo

The bad, bully or difficult boss who manages by exploding - uses fear as their motivating weapon. The truth is they are operating from fear-expressing their feelings instead of communicating. I don't advocate working with emotionally explosive bosses, but if you find yourself in this position there are few strategies you can implement until you find an alternative career opportunity.

I once asked a purchasing agent, who rarely got excited about anything and seemed a bit unapproachable, where he was going on vacation. I was surprised to learn that he loved to gamble in Vegas. His answer not only prompted more questions but provided a new way to approach him in the future. Schedule a feedback conversation with your manager or supervisor quarterly. Do not wait for your annual review. This is a critical conversation both managers and employees rarely approach with positive anticipation yet it is the perfect opportunity to increase your value. Ask for advice and put it to work.

Increase the number of "high risk" conversations you have each month. If you're interested in joining the sales team while you are currently manning the front desk, make it a point to interact with the sales manager more frequently. Vow to eliminate one repetitive phrase, over-used expression or credibility killer phrase from your conversation this year. No one is going to miss hearing "in these economic times."

US workplaces increasingly have a mixture of individuals who grew up in different cultures and countries, so small differences of this type easily arise, especially if a co-worker, employee, or supervisor hasn't been in the U.S. very long. These differences have nothing to do with someone's professionalism or competence, but when they lead to misunderstandings or judgments, they can negatively impact workplace relationships and performance evaluations.

Do not become a partner in the outburst. Just as an upset customer wants to be heard, allow the venting to occur. Offer alternatives. Be pleasant, firm and steady in your response. Know when to walk away. There may be times when the above steps do not work. If the ranting continues to escalate it might be wise to excuse yourself from the situation. In a neutral voice you might say: "Excuse me, John, I think it would be best for me to return to my desk until we can discuss this without yelling." Again, keep calm.

Working with an explosive boss is unproductive and unhealthy. Practice this strategy until things change for the better-your boss gets enlightened or you get a new boss. The latter generally happens before the former.

About the Author:


Post a Comment