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Manage your boss’s bad habits

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When it comes to your supervisor’s crummy behavior, you may keep your lips sealed to avoid any backlash. Don’t suffer in silence. Instead, use these tips to deal with some of your boss’s worst behavior:

Interrupts you often. If your manager regularly talks over you or doesn’t let you finish your sentences, “train” your boss to let you complete a thought. After the boss cuts you off, say “Let’s back up for a moment,” “To finish my thought” or “That’s correct, but please let me make one point …” You will be able to finish what you are saying, while politely pointing out your supervisor’s ugly habit.

Behaves unpredictably. On Monday, your boss praises you for being an asset. By Tuesday, a mistake—that you had no control over—makes you a liability. On Day 1, your manager is optimistic and excited about a new initiative; one week in, and it’s the worst idea ever. One day, your top priority is this; the next it is something entirely different. Supervisors whose moods, focus and even feedback are constantly fluctuating are stressful, because you never know what to expect and you waste so much time adjusting to their whims.

Point out the behavior and gain more clarity. When your boss shifts, say “Last week you said that I was doing well/the idea was rock solid/this was my top priority. Please tell me what’s changed.”

Forgets most of what you talk about. You shouldn’t expect your boss to remember everything you say. However, if your supervisor forgets more than he or she remembers, you need to put everything in writing and also verbally follow up.  When a conversation is over, say “I’ll send this in an email and put a reminder on your calendar.”

— Adapted from “Five Tips for Managing Your Boss’s Bad Habits,” Liz Ryan, Forbes, www.forbes.com.

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