Is your boss a workplace ‘pyro’? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Is your boss a workplace ‘pyro’?

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Workplace 'pyro': Someone who turns every deadline or work issue into a three-alarm fire.

Signs that you work for one: She marks most of her e-mail “urgent.” You receive three phone calls in the same hour related to the same subject. You receive assignments at night or on weekends.

Tactics for handling a workplace pyro:

Be the first one to bring up work issues. Pyros often suspect that people aren’t working hard enough. Send an e-mail every day or every hour (depending on the issue) updating her on your efforts. It’s time-consuming, but so is answering her “alarm.”

Clarify expectations. Before you spend five hours jumping through hoops to gather the “urgent” data, find out how detailed she wants the final work. You may be trying to provide an answer down to two decimal places, when a ballpark estimate will do the trick.

Don’t assume that “urgent” means now. Tell her what you’re working on and when you will be finished. Ask her if the “urgent” job should come first. Make her choose, rather than automatically taking on her urgency.

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