Published in Mortgage Professional Australia in 2013
Bad bosses: we’ve all had one. Whether they’re micro-managers, tantrum-prone or preoccupied, here are six ideas on how to cope with a difficult boss.*
1. Work out what pleases them
Bosses are people. Just like you do with clients, parents
2. Speak their language
Andrea loves to SEE pictures, graphs
3. Read their mind
This may seem impossible, but what most impresses your boss is
4. If they’re picky, give them half
Some bosses just don’t seem to be able to keep their hands off your work. So don’t give them the completed thing to pick holes in, use their brains to help you get the job done. Don’t go in with a fully formed strategy for improving the back office processing; go in with a newborn strategy. People feel better about a strategy when they feel they have created it themselves. Allow your boss to have that illusion of control. And stop frustrating yourself.
5. Stay out of the way
One short-term strategy for managing a bad boss is the simplest. Just stay out of their way. Keep your nose clean and stay under the radar.
6. Work out how they judge you
Anne is not a morning person. She found out her boss judged her
You may have formal performance indicators like deals completed or dollars billed, but check out if your boss has a hidden measuring system too. They may measure you by the quality of your relationships in the office, the sound of your voice, how stressed you seem, or what time you get to the office in the morning.
7. Crowd-source an answer
Don’t reinvent the wheel: other people have worked for this person before. Some of them have succeeded well. Take them for a drink and ask for tips.
8. Reframe how you see them
When Rosie pictures her difficult boss as a four-year-old in nappies she can’t help but smile. Smiling changes how you interact with the world. When you suppress negative emotions your blood pressure increases. People see this.
Try picturing them with nappies and a dummy, and see if that changes how you interact with them. And NEVER tell anyone what you’re doing.
9. Make plans
Finally if you have tried all there is to try, then make plans to move on. If you can’t get on with this boss, work out how you can get away from them. Soon.
Make them so clear that you’ll cut out some of the impossibles. A chain of pharmacies found the most impossible customers were those waiting to pick up prescriptions. They created a poster showing the 26 steps that the pharmacist went through to ensure a prescription didn’t accidentally kill someone. Customer impossibility evaporated.
10. Look after yourself
In the end, the more fit, healthy and happy you are, the more easily you can deal with that impossible boss. And the more resilient you can be. So look after you!
* if you’re a bad boss yourself, then check out these tips.