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Multiple-Boss Personality Conflicts

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Question: How do you not get stressed out working as an assistant to two very powerful personalities? One has the effect of a Mack truck when he approaches me. The other tends to be highly critical and extremely articulate.  -- Carolyn


Are you talking about the stress of managing 2 people with competing priorities for you to work on? If so, you need to be straight with them about being unable to meet both of their competing deadlines and let them be a part of the solution as to how you will prioritize the work.

Or if you are talking about working with difficult/challenging personalities in general, it is going to be different in each case. However some techniques are always recommended: change your perceptions, try to understand their motivations, look for something (anything) positive in their personality that you enjoy. There are many articles on this subject. Try googling "working with difficult people."

If they are both treating you that way it sounds like you may need to develop a little more assertiveness and work on the kind of image you portray. Give yourself a lot more positive self talk and remember they are just people and put their pants on the same way as the custodian and they were also two year-olds at one time. That may put a smile on your face if you think about that whenever they approach you. Be calm, deliberate and tell yourself you can handle whatever they throw at you and if they aren't nice tell them that you'd appreciate being treated with a little more consideration and respect. Some people just need to know that you won't just roll over and take verbal or psychologically abusive treatment. Pray about it also.

I think things happen for a reason. Maybe the reason you have these folks as managers is because it is your season to develop your confrontation skills. The more crap you put up with, the more crap you are going to get. Make sure that when you confront it is with respect, courage and class.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sharon June 10, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I wrote myself a calendar reminder that pops up every morning. It says, “Fear God who made man, not the man He made.” It helps keep everything in perspective. As long as I consider my job as a part of serving God, I will continue to do my best and will remember God is my provider and not man.


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