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Rise above condescending boss

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Q:  I am a 40-year-old VP who reports to the 60-year-old president. Twice he has said to me, “Bob, you’re a good boy,” in the same way a pet owner would praise his dog. I wish I could answer, “Don, you’re a good old man.” How should I reply?

A:  The danger of working for someone who uses such language is that he can exert authority in annoying or offensive ways that can destroy your focus. Give him as little thought as possible. Really. That may sound counterintuitive, but you need to do your job. I’ve seen lots of otherwise talented execs get caught up in how to handle a boss’s slights. That’s wasted time, and it often comes at the expense of delivering superior performance.

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