Caught in the Middle when My Boss’ Boss Asks My Opinion

Caught in the Middle when My Boss’ Boss Asks My Opinion In the last post, we covered what can happen if your boss’ boss asks you for work when your boss is out of the office. As we saw, if your boss (Trevor) is in dinosaur training school, he won’t be pleased. But it can get worse. You could be caught in the middle. What if Trevor’s boss (Jennifer) starts sending work directly, without going through Trevor at all? About a week after the last incident, an e-mail from Jennifer. You look at the top line. No c.c. to Trevor. “Matt, I really liked your work and want your thoughts on the attached document. How feasible is the proposal?”   Would that happen? Absolutely. Especially in smaller companies where there aren’t that many levels of management. And often, nobody gets their knickers in a knot about it, particularly if it is a very collegial environment. If your work place has that quality, you can skip this post. If you’re not sure, keep reading. Nope, I’m talking about when your boss Trevor does get his knickers in a K. And by the by, just because he doesn’t say anything, doesn’t mean…

Making Yourself Less Threatening to the Boss

Making Yourself Less Threatening to the Boss In the previous post, I suggested ways to lower your boss’ threat level. In this, you need to recognize work really is different from home. At work, there is a hierarchy of more power and less. You have less. Your boss has more. Therefore, what he wants will often take precedence over your wishes. I’m not saying it’s fair; it just is. This post is about making yourself less threatening to your boss. What if the ideas don’t work? Be sure you consistently use the ideas in the previous post before you decide they’re not working. However, sometimes it doesn’t solve the problem. Why can’t your boss get over herself and quit being a jerk? Uh-huh—a question for the ages. I can’t know what drives or haunts your particular boss, but a boss can be threatened which have nothing to do with you.  She might be: Worried she’s reached her level of incompetence Afraid she will be replaced by some young whippersnapper Carrying around the burden of past failures Try to imagine how you would feel if these were your concerns. It’s probably a scary and kind of helpless place. You might even…

How Not to Annoy or Pose a Threat to Your Boss

How Not to Annoy or Pose a Threat to Your Boss In the previous post, we identified how you might inadvertently convert a personal attribute into a threat to your boss. I’ll take each attribute and suggest how you might lower the threat level if you think it exists. You are: So you: Smarter Correct your boss frequently (or infrequently), especially in front of others In front of others, in a meeting—not good venues. If the correction must come, it should be in private. Now, I’m not talking “No, the bathrooms are on the left.” There are corrections of minor facts which should not raise the threat level. But if you are correcting on logic, strategy, policy, tactic or opinion, these are ones which might drop you into trouble. Rather than correct your boss in the meeting, do it in private. But even in private, NOT “You were wrong/misguided/mistaken…” INSTEAD “I was a little confused in the meeting. My understanding was that [insert your correct information], but in the meeting, it seemed that it was more [insert error]. Did I miss something?” Also, think whether the issue is important enough to raise at all. If it will prevent your unit…

Do You Annoy/ Threaten Your Boss?

Do You Annoy/ Threaten Your Boss? The automatic response is ‘of course not. It’s all his/her fault.’ But here’s how you might have a hand in the situation. Taking the list from the last post on how you might threaten your boss, I’ll elaborate on how you might be making the situation worse. You are: So you: Smarter Correct your boss frequently (or even infrequently), especially in front of others More articulate Interrupt/take over the conversation when your boss is mucking up or missing the point Better liked Offer to intercede on your boss’ behalf with a colleague your boss doesn’t get along with Taller Tower over him whenever the two of you are together Thinner Talk about the sacrifices you’ve made to keep and maintain your svelte figure OR Give her advice on how to lose weight Better dressed Give him fashion tips OR Make sure she knows how much the new outfit cost Better educated Refer to all the advanced learning you are privy to OR Complain if your advice isn’t automatically accepted Any of these ring a bell? In all of this, frequency and your boss’ reaction are paramount. You might be able to get away once…

Is Your Boss Threatened by You?

Is Your Boss Threatened by You? 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 have threatened your boss. What does threatened 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 under the Power category).  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, he might actually be threatened by you. Can you threaten your boss without…