My Boss Manages Through Favoritism
Power for Employees / March 7, 2022

My Boss Manages Through Favoritism What it is As I mentioned in other posts, your boss creating an in-group is not unusual and even to be expected. Except when he uses it as favoritism. He: Gives plum assignments only to them Re-assigns a project if a favorite wants it Gossips, you suspect, with the favorites about other employees Allows the favorites leeway no one else is given, like getting in late, slacking off, ‘business’ trips. What it looks like when he’s using favoritism You: Tony, Hiro [Tony’s favorite] asked me about my surgery. I told you that in confidence. Tony (boss): I’m sure he was just being sympathetic—it’s a big deal. You: That’s not the point—I told you that in confidence. Tony: I had to. He’s taking over when you’re off. You: Hiro! But he doesn’t have the background—he’s never done high level strategy. Tony: Good chance to learn. You: But so many files are at crucial points. Wouldn’t Rebecca be better— Tony: You just need to make sure you brief Hiro well. If you are hoping that Tony will slap his forehead and say, “Oh, my god, I have been playing favorites,” you’re going to wait a long time….

My Boss Thinks He’s Napoleon
Power for Employees / February 28, 2022

My Boss Thinks He’s Napoleon What is a Napoleon complex? Pretty easy to spot although not to deal with. A Napoleon boss tends to: Take credit for others’ work Uses ‘I’ a lot not ‘we’ Blames others for his failures Is never wrong Makes unreasonable demands Is a control freak Spends more time brownnosing the big bosses than on his job What it looks like Lisa (boss): You made me look bad in front of the VP! The prototype burned out before we even got started. You: But I told you we needed to rewire— Lisa: Don’t give me that. You set me up! You: I didn’t. I told you that it wouldn’t work— Lisa: Yeah sure, try to cover your ass now. Well, I’m not wearing this—I made sure everyone knew whose fault it was. You: But Lisa, if we had put in— What to do You might as well of saved your breath. Lisa has to find someone to blame. Let’s do over the conversation. An example Lisa: You made me look bad in front of the VP! The prototype burned out before we even got started. DO NOT get defensive. She knows you warned her. You: Oh,…

My Boss is Underperforming
Power for Employees / February 14, 2022

My Boss is Underperforming An underperforming boss can hurt your career. There are some things only your boss can do. She is the link between you and the rest of the company. She can damage your area’s reputation by making unwise decisions which in turn leads to less money and fewer staff (i.e. your job!) What is underperforming? An underperforming boss: Takes a long time to make decisions Changes her mind often Can’t follow technical arguments well Can’t get money for projects or has her budget cut Losses work to other managers Rarely meets with her boss or meets all the time What under-performing looks like You: Lisa, I was just talking to Grant. He says that he’s been assigned the Parkinson project. But I’ve already started it. Lisa, boss: He made some good points. I think he’s probably the best for it. You: But I did a similar project in my last job. And I spent last week mapping out the strategy for this one. Lisa: Oh, I’d forgotten that. And you’ve spent all that time? You: I’m ready to roll it out. Lisa: Oh, well then, maybe you should continue. Makes banging your head against a wall seem…

My Boss is Contemptuous
Power for Employees / February 7, 2022

My Boss is Contemptuous In the last post, I outlined ways bosses can be jerks. This post will focus on those who are contemptuous. What it is This boss doesn’t get that treating his employees as human beings is not just good business (as it is) but a requirement of humanness. Instead he: Is always late for meetings Doesn’t read the work you did for the meeting Sends e-mails and texts all hours of night (and expects a prompt response) Changes his mind frequently and is unconcerned about the extra work caused Reprimands or corrects employees in public, sometimes loudly or even abusively Never, never says thank you What it looks like Your boss, Tony, has called you into his office. Tony: Didn’t you get my text? You: Yeah, I just read it. Tony: I sent it yesterday. I need you to hop to it. You: But you sent it after midnight. Tony: So? I’m still working even if you aren’t. You: Okay—I’ll get on it. What to do You want to yell, Just because you don’t have a personal life, doesn’t mean I don’t. Are you crazy? I get it. But not the most effective approach if being gainfully…

My Boss is Impossible to Work for
Power for Employees / January 31, 2022

My Boss is Impossible to Work for If the world were fair, you’d never have an impossible boss. They would all be evenhanded, encourage their staff to their full potential, and not be working out personal issues on the job. Right. Every once in a while, you get a great one. If you do, they are gold. Hang in there as long as you can and don’t take your luck for granted. Not all are impossible bosses But for the rest of us, perfect bosses, like perfect people, are few and far between. Which doesn’t mean the rest are jackasses, of course. After all, you’re not perfect either (I hope this is not news to you) and would probably not do a better job. Even if you’re sure that you would. So, generally, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt, if you can. Flawed, yes. Sometimes a little petty. Or inconsiderate. Or bad-tempered. If these are not characteristics but occasional outbreaks, I’d try to treat them as one-offs and focus on whether your supervisor is primarily a good guy with positive intent. But sometimes you can’t because his behavior makes it difficult to do your best work. These are…