Do You Intimidate Your Boss?

Do You Intimidate Your Boss? If everyone was actually as kind, considerate, and mature as they’re supposed to be at work, I wouldn’t need to write this nor you read it. However, that’s no more true at work than in life. So you may find yourself in the uncomfortable position of suspecting you intimidate your boss, however inadvertently. What does intimidate mean? I’m not of course talking about physical threats or even verbal. These are matters for the police or union/lawyer responses and outside of the scope of this blog. No, I’m talking about something more subtle. It is a vague feeling, suspected but never spoken of (and therefore a poster child for an undercurrent), that your boss doesn’t like you for reasons that are obscure to you. The result is that you don’t get the praise, plum assignment, exposure to senior managers or membership in your boss’ in-group (I have some other posts on in-groups). Even though your work is excellent, you feel stuck in a corner, ignored. You are beginning to suspect that not only does your boss not like you, you might intimidate him. Can you threaten your boss without meaning to? Of course. There are any…

Harmony by Keeping Quiet

Harmony by Keeping Quiet An option is always to keep your head down when the big guns of conflict come out. Sometimes keeping quiet is a good idea and sometimes not. Let’s talk about this possibility. Why keeping quiet is a bad idea You wouldn’t be representing your group well. A potentially good idea will get lost. A sub-optimal solution might be adopted. You might be wimping out by not speaking up. It’s good for the company The reasons above are about the company. That is, if you speak up, the company benefits by getting closer to the right solution. Even the last one fits. You’re wimping out by not helping the company be its best. The organization is usually better off if knowledgeable people occasionally ruffle feathers. But is it good for you? Depends. Depends on how you feel about the issue under discussion. I care deeply. Meaning, it is related to your own values and ethics. Not speaking up will do your sense of self-worth damage. I don’t care. E.g. a change with no impact, or any solution works for you. You might want some visibility by speaking, but if your comments are seen as disturbing the peace,…

Benefiting from the Need for Agreement

Benefiting from the Need for Agreement In the last post, you attempted to table a proposal but were left hung out to dry. You hadn’t realized that the need for agreement trumped support for a good idea. Are you doomed to let Tod run the show? Not necessarily. You can be aware, respect, and even use the need for agreement. Let’s rewind and redo the meeting. The second meeting (reprise)   YOU: I’d like to table my proposal. Tod: We have to deal with Finance’s first. YOU: How about hearing mine so we can compare? (turns to group) Who’s for that? Show of hands. (all hands go up) Tod: (grumpily) Fine. Let’s get it over with. Using the need for agreement Okay, very clever. You used the need for agreement to move your agenda forward by: Sidestepping a direct confrontation. Last time, you went head-to-head with Tod, disturbing the need for harmony and making everyone uncomfortable. They punished you by silence when you needed them to speak. Asking the group for something minor and non-verbal. In addition, rather than asking them to speak and risk Tod’s sharp tongue, you just asked for a show of hands. Much easier, especially if…

Challenging Aggressive Words

Challenging Aggressive Words In the last post, you had an ugly meeting. Tod from Finance tried to grab the whole contracting process and went ballistic when people objected. You’ve had an idea you think would work. But the way things are going, it’s likely to be tough to get the idea heard. Challenging Tod’s aggressive words may be the only way. What can you do to get your idea heard? If you try to table it over Tod’s aggressive approach, it’s likely to descend into another shouting match. But if you gather support before the meeting, you’ll up your chances of swinging things your way. You spend the rest of the week talking to Sarah, Lilianna, Irwin, and others. They’re reluctant but, in the end, concede that it’s a better idea than Tod’s. You’re pleased. The second meeting. Still aggressive YOU: I’d like to propose an approach to meet our needs and still be responsive to customers. Tod: Wait a minute, we didn’t finish discussing Finance’s. YOU: We did discuss it. Tod: No way. All I got was roadblocks. Nobody tried to make it work. YOU: Let me present my idea and then we can compare. Tod: (voice rising) Are…

Combat in the Workplace

Combat in the Workplace Your boss has chosen you to represent Customer Relations in a cross-departmental group to streamline a process. Things have come to a head because your biggest customer is threatening to use a competitor if your company can’t fix the slow process. You expect some combat to get it done. The first meeting. Or combat Tod (Finance): The solution is clear. Finance taking the lead will speed things up a whole lot. YOU: How do you figure? Tod: We write the contract and give final approval. If we had the whole thing, it’d be done in no time. Sarah: Without Ops input? When we have to deliver what you negotiate? Tod: We can’t have a million approvals. We have the budget, so we have most at stake. Sarah: So do we. If you negotiate below costs, we’re in trouble. Tod: (face gets red) Why would we negotiate a contract that hurts the company? Sarah: I didn’t mean— Tod: Finance guys are killing themselves and you’re saying we’d purposely do you in. YOU: I’m sure that’s not what Sarah meant, Tod. We’d just like some input. Tod: Customer Relations! Why are you even here? You’re irrelevant to this….