Dealing with a burned-out boss

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in Dealing with Bosses,Office Management

It's not surprising--or a sign of personal weakness--that more and more bosses feel burned out. But you need the vision and guidance an enthusiastic boss provides in order to do your very best work. Here are some steps to take:

Address the situation. Let the boss know you see a problem. Otherwise, you may become increasingly angry about the boss's performance, and your relationship may deteriorate beyond the point of rescue. Acknowledging the situation also relieves the boss of having to pretend it doesn't exist. 

Offer to help. Ask what you can do to take some of the load off the boss's shoulders. Even if there's nothing specific you can do, just making the offer gives some badly needed support. If the boss is cool to your overtures the first time, try again a week or so later, using the same basic formula.

Listen to work-related problems. Even if you can't directly ease the burden, you might help the boss talk through a problem. At the very least, you show that you care. And the better you understand the constraints the boss is under, the less likely you'll be to interpret distressed performance as evidence that you have a bad boss who doesn't like you.

Guide yourself. While the boss is preoccupied, make it your business to identify and pursue your department's priorities. Keep the boss regularly informed of your direction. You'll be one less thing to worry about. Your ability to navigate without steady guidance will signal both your loyalty and your potential.

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