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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“Hot teams” improvise, do more work with less supervision and make the extra effort to follow through. Management consultant Laurence Haughton offers this advice for turning ordinary groups into hot teams.

Soon after Gary Lizalek was hired at a Wisconsin medical firm, he informed the company that he believed, as a matter of religious faith, that he was three separate beings. The company fired all three Lizaleks. He sued, saying the company failed to accommodate his religious beliefs.

Cutting training willy-nilly just to save money can create more problems than it solves. During economic downturns, companies need efficient, targeted training programs to improve productivity. And effective training positions companies to prosper as the economy recovers. To examine training programs and avoid eliminating those that do work, ask the following questions:

Your manager doesn’t give feedback on your job performance. When you seek input, he replies, “If there’s a problem, I’ll let you know.” You need to sell your boss on the win-win benefit of providing performance feedback.

If your boss micromanages and drives you crazy, forge a stronger relationship with him or her. For example, practice the "art" of communication, says Harry E. Chambers, author of My Way or the Highway—the Micromanagement Survival Guide. “Show that you’re in motion on priority projects by communicating in three specific terms: awareness, reassurance and timelines."

There’s a right and wrong way to disagree with your manager. If you speak too bluntly (“You’re missing the point”), you may trigger defensiveness. Your great insight can fall upon deaf ears. A better approach is to begin on a note of agreement.

As Administrative Professionals Week (April 19-25) approached, we couldn’t help but wonder what crazy things bosses have asked admins to do. So we asked readers of our Admin Pro Forum to tell us about the most unusual or bizarre thing their boss ever asked them to do. For starters: "Open his sandwich every day to make sure no tomatoes were on it."

For the most part, your boss leaves you alone to do your work. That’s how you like it. Sometimes, however, you must get your boss’s approval to resolve a costly problem. And that’s when problems can erupt.

Cheaper child care is increasingly necessary as budgets tighten, says Lisa Belkin, a New York Times reporter who covers workplace issues. Here are some of the creative ways working families are reducing the costs.

She steals credit for your work, blames you for something that you didn’t do or attempts to damage your reputation: the workplace saboteur. Saboteurs are most apt to strike in a weak economy like the current one, business psychologist Wendy Alfus Rothman tells The Wall Street Journal.