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 l...

Hey, My Boss’ Boss is Asking My Opinion! You have been beavering away in the bowels of your company, feeling as if you’ll be stuck in this job forever. Your boss (let’s call him Trevor) is something of a stick-in-the-mud who wants to do things as they’ve always been done. Then one morning, out of the blue, your boss’ boss (Jennifer), appears at your cubicle. Jennifer: Hi, Matt, have you seen Trevor? You: He’ll be in later—something ...

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 bo...

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...

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 c...

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...

Harmony through Silence

Harmony through Silence An option is always to keep your head down when the big guns of conflict come out. Sometimes silence is a good idea and sometimes not. Let’s talk about this possibility. Why silence 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...

Benefiting from the Need for Harmony

Benefiting from the Need for Harmony 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 harmony 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 harmony. Let’s rewind and redo the meeting. The second meeting (reprise) YOU: I’d like to table my proposal. Tod: We have to ...

Challenging Fighting Words

Challenging Fighting Words Challenging Tod 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. What can you do to get your idea heard? If you try to table it over Tod’s singlemindedness, it’s likely to descend into anothe...

Fighting Words

Fighting Words Fighting words to streamline a process 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 fighting to get it done. The first meeting Tod (Finance): The solution is clear. Finance taking the lead will speed thin...