Article 43

 

Monday, October 16, 2006

Tips For Dealing With A Bad Boss

From WORKING AMERICA

Protect yourself first by building relationships with co-workers and other managers. These relationships can be an important source of support at workand it’s always helpful when a co-worker witnesses your bosss bad behavior.

Get it in writing when your boss makes promises or threats. If there is an incident between you and your boss, writedown your version with the date and time. Mail a copy to yourself in a sealed, postmarked envelope. This could be an important record of the incident later.

Talk to your boss about your concerns. Sometimes bosses dont know when they are making bad decisions or treating employees unfairly. Plan ahead what you want to tell your boss. Practice keeping cool and speaking calmly.

Identify the problem with your boss. Is it a short fuse? A problem with giving clear directions? Once you know exactly what your boss does that drives you crazy, it becomes easier to keep it from getting under your skin. And you can try alternative strategies to deal with your boss’a flaws. For example, if your boss gives vague directions, you might try repeating them back to him or her to make sure you understand them.

Take back your life by establishing boundaries between work and home. Clearly define your time for work, family and friends. Remember that your boss pays you for eight hours a day, not 24.

Manage your stress off the clock. Eat healthy foods and exercise regularly to reduce stress and burn energy.

Ask for outside help. If you think your rights are being violated, read the KNOW YOUR RIGHTS fact sheet. Contact advocacy groups in your community and look for legal clinics and other kinds of help. For example, Working America MEMBERS are eligible for one half-hour of free legal consultation. Finally, if your boss ever becomes physically or verbally abusive, contact the police right away. Don’t be afraid to speak up and get help.

Organize a union at your workplace in order to have a legal say on the issues that matter most to you, including wages, benefits and work environment. Union members, on average, make 28 percent more than workers without a union and are much more likely to have employer-provided health care and pensions. Many unions also have a dignity and respect clause in their contracts. Click this link for more information on how to form a union at your workplace.

Plan your exit strategy if the situation is unbearable and all else fails. Network with colleagues, update your RESUME and watch for new job opportunities.

Join WORKING AMERICA

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Dealing With An Abusive Boss

By Gerri Willis
CNN/Money
October 15, 2004

It’s no secret that there are abusive bosses out there—you know the type. Bullies with big job titles that make the people working for them miserable.

According to the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, an abusive boss is more likely to be a woman than a man. That’s right—forget their nurturing image! Woman to woman bullying represents 50 percent of all workplace bullying; man to woman is 30 percent, man to man 12 percent and woman to man bullying is extremely rare—only 8 percent.

What should you know if you’re the victim of an abusive boss? Here are today’s five tips.

1. Identify the behavior.

There are all kinds of abusive bosses. The Institute classifies them a few different ways.

There are the constant critics who use put-downs, insults and name-calling. They may use aggressive eye contact to intimidate.

There are also two-headed snakes who pretend to be nice, while all the while trying to sabotage you.

Then there are the gatekeepers—people who are obsessed with control—who allocate time, money and staffing to assure their target’s failure. Control freaks ultimately want to control your ability to network in the company or to let your star shine.

Another type is the screaming Mimis who are emotionally out of control and explosive.

2. Don’t take it lying down.

If your boss has a difficult management style, you don’t have to let their bad behavior go. You can respond—just remember to stay professional.

So, if your boss insults you or puts you down, Susan Futterman, author of “When You Work for a Bully” and the founder of MyToxicBoss.com, suggests responding with something like, “In what way does calling me a moron or an idiot solve the problem? I think that there’s a better way to deal with this.”

If you find out that your boss is bad-mouthing you to higher-ups in the company, confront them directly and professionally. Get the evidence in writing from your source if you can. Then, ask him or her what is causing them to do this.

You could say, “I’ve been hearing from other people in the company that you’re not happy with my work, you and I know that this isn’t the case and I want to talk about how we can fix this.”

If your boss has been defaming you, that’s illegal. You may want to consult an attorney.

If your boss is a control freak who’s breathing down your neck, you should address it. Say, “I can’t function effectively if you’re going to be micromanaging me and looking over my shoulder all the time. If I’m doing something fundamentally wrong, let’s talk about it. But this isn’t working.”

If someone screams at you, don’t be a doormat. If you’ve made a mistake, acknowledge it. But let your boss know that they’re creating a difficult work environment. Even if you haven’t made a mistake, you may want to calmly ask what they’re upset about and if you can address it.

3. Take notes.

Documenting your boss’s bad behavior is key for two reasons, according to Futterman.

First, you might not even realize the extent of the problem. Futterman explains, “Taken in isolation, these events may seem trivial, but taken as a whole, it often becomes more clear what’s actually going on. Some victims may be in denial or discount these events as isolated incidents. Your written records can documenthow severe the situation is.”

And, of course, if you decide to take legal action down the line, you may need the information. It’s best to documentthese incidents as soon as possible so they’re fresh in your mind.

Documentation is also important if you plan to report the behavior to your boss’s boss or to your company’s human resources department. And don’t dismiss the idea of taking the bull by the horns and working toward a solution.

Try arranging a face-to-face meeting with your boss. Tell them you want to discuss the problems you’ve encountered because you want to resolve them. Chances are often slim that this will work, however. If they reject the opportunity to discuss things with you, add that to your documentation.

4. Know when it’s too much.

Bosses may exhibit bad behavior sometimes. Hey, no one is perfect, not even bosses. But if your boss is abusing you, that’s a problem.

The problem takes on greater urgency if the abuse starts to make you feel bad. If you chronically suffer high blood pressure that started only when you began working for your boss; or you feel nauseous the night before the start of the work week; or if all your paid vacation days have been used up for mental health breaks.

When the bullying has had a prolonged affect on your health or your life outside of work, it’s time to get out. It’s also time to leave if your confidence or your usual exemplary performance has been undermined.

Ironically, targets of abusive bosses tend to be high achievers, perfectionists and workaholics. Often bully bosses try to mask their own insecurities by striking out.

5. Control your destiny.

Even after you leave your nightmare boss, you’ll still have to explain why you left to potential new employers.

Futterman advises against dramatizing your old work situation. One way to gracefully sidestep the issue: say you and your manager had a longstanding disagreement over the most effective way of getting things done and you thought the most professional way to resolve it was to move on.

“You certainly don’t want to start recalling and recounting the abuse you suffered. You’ll inevitably get upset and that’s not the way you want to handle a job interview,” she says.

Try to control the interview situation to the extent you can. Don’t give your abusive boss as a reference but rather someone else with whom you worked previously. Another good choice might be a colleague or a peer you’re on good terms with or someone who can speak about you professionally.

Also, if you only worked for your bullying boss for a short time, you may want to consider leaving that job off your resume altogether.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 10/16/06 •
Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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