Dealing with Bosses

Even a good boss is a challenge. But when you’re dealing with bosses, dealing with difficult bosses makes everything twice as hard.

It can often feel as if you’re the one managing the boss. Business Management Daily shows you how to transform you and your boss into an efficient, unstoppable team.

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After 20 years of being a secretary, writes one administrative professional, she knows how to do the necessary work. That hasn’t kept her current supervisor or her supervisor’s boss—both women—from berating and intimidating her. The admin asks, “How can I learn to stand up for myself in a professional manner?”

You hear a lot about bullies and bullying these days, especially in schools. But bullies grow up. If they’re not stopped, they bring intimidation and violence into the workplace. What’s worse, some of them will become supervisors. If you get wind of a potential bully boss, here’s what to do:

Bad managers are not consciously aware that they’re bad managers. And if they are aware of it, they’re probably not willing to admit it to anyone. Nobody wants to think they might be the problem. Here are a few clues:

Experts say many leaders are clueless about how they come across to employees. Five signs you may be one of them: 1. You send one-word e-mails. 2. You rarely talk face-to-face with employees. 3. Your employees are out sick. A lot. 4. Your team works overtime but still misses deadlines. 5. You yell.
Question: "I am a Realtor's assistant, hired to do minor admin duties and prospecting on commission.  Two months ago, my boss was put on bed rest and gave birth. Since then, I have been doing nearly all a Realtor does (with no pay increase): client contact, open houses, paperwork, taking pictures, handling weekend calls--often I have to google to find the answers! I use my own computer, car and cell phone. My boss even asks me to drive her and her children after hours! What’s worse: she told me to lie to clients to cover up for her condition. I cannot afford to quit until I find another job. How do I handle her personal demands without burning a bridge?" - Christina

Feel exhausted, even on a vacation day? That’s one sign you’re being bullied at work, according to a “you know you’ve been bullied at work when ...” checklist by Workplace Bullying Institute. Other signs that you’re in the bully’s bull’s-eye:

It happens. Some working relationships between bosses and their direct reports are so toxic that employees suffer psychological problems. Sometimes the tension is so bad that employees believe they’re disabled and therefore entitled to transfer to another job under another supervisor. That isn’t the case.

Abusive managers may be workplace monsters, but their behavior generally hasn’t subjected employers to liability if no particular protected class was the target of the abuse. That may be about to change in New York.
Question:  “Our store manager and assistant manager recently ended an extramarital affair after the assistant’s wife discovered it. Everyone at work had been aware of the relationship for quite awhile.  Although they’ve agreed to stop seeing each other, the situation is still very uncomfortable. Our regional boss just wants the whole thing to go away. Sales have improved since these two started working together, so he doesn’t want to transfer either of them out. We’ve been told that any employee caught gossiping about the affair could be terminated. The assistant’s wife is furious that management won't force a transfer, but she doesn't feel that she can speak up. I would like to contact human resources on her behalf, but I’m afraid of getting in trouble. What should I do?” — Disturbed
If your organization is targeted by a union-organizing effort, take note. Labor law gives your employees the right to join a union. Assuming you prefer to operate as a nonunion company, what are your rights?