When All Else Fails, Dealing With a Threatened Boss
Bringing Yourself to Work / January 9, 2017

When All Else Fails, Dealing With a Threatened 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. 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 feel sorry for her. However, even if you do…

How Not to Annoy Your Boss
Bringing Yourself to Work / January 2, 2017

How Not to Annoy 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 from attaining its goals, perhaps….

Do You Annoy/ Threaten Your Boss?
Bringing Yourself to Work / December 19, 2016

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?
Bringing Yourself to Work / December 12, 2016

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…

Bringing Yourself to Work
Bringing Yourself to Work / September 5, 2016

Bringing Yourself to Work If you are just starting out in your career, this phrase might not mean much to you. Of course you bring yourself to work. What else could you do? However, if you’ve worked for any length of time, it might have meaning. The longer you are employed, the more you come to realize that you can’t necessarily do at work what you might do in your personal life. The pressures of work Work requires a number of adjustments to what you might typically do. You have to bite your tongue. You need to be careful how you say things. ‘What a stupid idea’ will mostly garner resentment. You need to learn to say, ‘What an interesting thought.’ You have to be a little respectful of your boss and/or the hierarchy. Where at home you might tell your significant other, ‘you’re full of it,’ you can’t usually do that with your boss. Some implicit deference is required even if you don’t feel that way. You have to toe the party line. Going around criticizing the company’s product, no matter how well justified, will at least get you a reprimand if not dismissal You have to play office…