How to Deal With Your ‘Bossy’ Boss
These days, business leaders do not believe in the autocratic style of leadership anymore. With flatter organizational hierarchies, emphasis on teamwork and the growth of social media, the abuse of power by bosses is less rampant today. Managers are tweaking their leadership styles and learning to be more communicative.
However, leaders who still follow older styles of leadership do exist. Here’s how they continue to make employees miserable today, and some tips to help you deal with them.
Not giving credit where it’s due
A common complaint is about bosses who do not give credit where it is due. They forget to acknowledge the individual who came up with the winning idea or worse, they take the credit themselves. Often, in the rush to complete a project, the acknowledgement is made too late, and by that point the employee is bitter and demoralized. There’s also the ‘fair weather boss’ who blames the employee when things go foul.
The way to deal with such bosses is to document one’s ideas in proposals and presentations. Make it be known subtly to the people and teams you work with, that the idea comes from your team or from you. Make it known more directly in your self-appraisal during performance reviews with your boss and the HR department.
Not being clear and straightforward
Another common complaint is about bosses who lack clarity and are not able to set clear directions and goals or communicate them properly to their employees. There are others who can even be called ‘confused’ as they don’t know exactly what they are looking for in terms of deliverables. Finally, there are bosses who are not straightforward. They excel in giving vague hints or avoid giving difficult directions directly. The result is frustration when the results are not achieved. Often, clarity comes only after failure.
You can deal with such bosses by asking questions and seeking clarifications till clarity emerges. Keep digging till you are clear about the goals, directions, milestones and deliverables that are expected out of you. Once you are clear, get a sign-off from the boss or send an email for the record.
A bully who creates a hostile work environment
There are bosses who excel in creating hostile work environments. Here are some of the tactics they usually employ:
- They will not take the trouble to know your name or understand your personality, nature or working style
- They may refuse to talk to you or acknowledge your presence because you are a subordinate
- They humiliate or embarrass you in front of an audience
- They don’t trust you or your ideas but still assign you challenging workloads or goals
- They resort to favoritism
- They don’t give you time
There are a few things you can try out, to see what strategy works best. Praise the boss if required. Continue working calmly like a true diplomat. Don’t show that you are ruffled. Speak up but politely. Use the voice of reason and explain your ideas or suggestions. Anticipate problems. Use an excuse and walk out of the room for some files, if you sense a confrontation brewing. Most importantly, let the boss know that you are enjoying your work.
Micromanagers are control freaks and cannot work without getting into thousands of tiny details and having minute by minute reviews. A common complaint is that they can’t let go and allow you to do your work.
You can win them over by winning their trust. This means delivering jobs without mistakes on time, every time. It also requires that you communicate constantly and keep the boss posted of developments as they occur.
Another common complaint about bosses is the fact that they do not value your time. Such bosses show their insensitivity in the following ways:
- They rejoice in calling you to work on your vacation
- They hold too many meetings and the meetings are usually long and unproductive without clear agendas and results
- They create a crisis with every job being an emergency that requires a response in fifteen minutes
- They resort to gossip sessions and engage you in office politics
In such situations, it is a good idea to restrict communication only to the most urgent work. Don’t gossip or show that you are enjoying the gossip sessions. Stay focused on work.
While dealing with bosses, employees should ensure that they communicate constantly and get any clarifications required to accomplish tasks assigned to them. There’s nothing more wasteful than trying to work in the dark. Lastly, don’t take things personally or allow your personality to create impediments in your work. Be positive, work out smart solutions around your problems with your boss and enjoy your what you do.
Check out this Ted talk by Rosalinde Torres on what it takes to be a great leader:
Have you worked with a ‘bossy’ boss? How did you deal with them? Share your secrets with us in the comments below.