June 2011   Vol. 6 No. 6
If the most difficult person in your workplace happens to be your boss, you'll want to read this.

Last November I wrote about bullying and received lots of emails from people who were dealing with or had experienced bad behavior in their workplaces. And as a result of reading my article, a number of organizations told me that they went ahead and set up formal anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, where none existed before. For those of you who helped make that happen, good for you! (A reminder: under many state laws and some federal laws, certain employers are required to establish and maintain these zero-tolerance policies.)

Also revealed to me was that often the ones who were the most demanding, difficult (possibly borderline bullies) were the bosses or other senior level individuals in the organization. This should not come as a surprise. We don't need studies (and there are many) to tell us that overly dominating, negative behavior frequently comes from individuals in power positions. And we all know those people.

Learn how to handle the demanding boss and not "bite the hand that may be feeding you." And please feel free to share this e-newsletter with colleagues or friends.

signature - Les
Les Gore

articleOneHow To Manage A Difficult Boss.

7 tips to survive, even thrive, with a dominant boss.

 How To Manage A Difficult Boss


Dealing with a dominant personality can be a challenging feat, especially if it's your boss. If you find yourself working for this type of employer, you may be tempted to call it quits. However, learning to work with this type of personality is an extremely valuable skill. So if the job is worth it and you are looking for a way to make it work, here are seven tips to survive, and thrive, with a dominant boss.

These tips were compiled and written by Keith E. Ayers, who is the president of Integro Leadership Institute, a global business, management, and leadership consultancy firm. He is also the author of "Engagement is Not Enough".

1. Be Straightforward
Your boss is a straight-shooter and takes pride in the ability to call a spade a spade. Be upfront, avoid making small talk, and keep e-mails short and to the point. If you have any doubt on how to communicate to your boss, always be as open, honest, and direct as possible - these are characteristics that your boss values the most.

2. Stay Busy
Try to display a sense of urgency while on the job. What you might believe is team building (chilling by the water cooler to catch up on last weekend's activities) is viewed as a goofing off by your boss. Preferring a task-oriented work environment, your boss wants to know you're getting things done. If you've never used a to-do list, it's time to start.

3. Make "Quick" Decisions
One of your boss's greatest strengths is the ability to make decisions quickly. Unfortunately, if you don't operate at the same speed, you may be falsely perceived as inefficient, indecisive, or slow. If you are an analytical thinker and need time to formulate a response before speaking, try to anticipate and prepare for questions before they arise.

4. Talk About Results
Dominant bosses are goal-oriented, competitive, and measure progress by results. If you want to fit into their big picture, then you need to understand the results they seek. Sure, you may have a job description, but do you understand your overall objectives? If not, brainstorm the questions you need to ask and schedule a time to talk.

5. Understand Impatience
A critical limitation of managers with dominant personalities is their impatience. They don't understand that a long, cold winter makes the summer games at Fenway that much better. Because of their sense of urgency, they're sometimes dismissive of others and rush to judgment. The best thing you can do in this situation is to understand this trait, but be persistent if you have an idea you know is worthwhile!

6. Don't Take It Personally
Remember that you do not have to be best buddies with your boss; you just have to work together. Often times dominant personalities end up in leadership roles because their need to control far outweighs their need to be popular in the office. With this in mind, seek direction from your boss and understand that friendship will most likely come secondary.

7. Require Respect
The absolute minimum any worker needs to do well in their job is respect. Without it, it's nearly impossible to be engaged or like what you do. If you feel uncomfortable or disrespected by something your boss has done, you need to have a conversation with him or her about it. If nothing changes, then it's time to start looking for a new job.

Now it's your turn
Have you ever had to deal with a horrible boss? Did they have an unmanageable habit or an annoying character trait? Or (which might even be worse) are you trying to deal with one now?

Submit your worst boss stories to me here, in confidence. I'll share them in an upcoming newsletter.

There is a difference between being "demanding" and being a "bully." A bully is someone who mistreats a person (or persons) in a deliberate, hurtful, and repeated manner that prevents the person from performing his or her job. The bully often is trying to control or manipulate the person. Read "Why Fighting Bullies Is Good Business" in my November 2010 newsletter.  



recentIssuesRecent Issues

recent issue - Tips For The First-Time Bossrecent issue - Recruit and Hire in Seven Daysrecent issue - Do We Need to Have Meetings?
Tips For The First-Time Boss
(May 2011)

Recruit and Hire in Seven Days
(April 2011)

Do We Need to Have Meetings?
(March 2011)



If you would you like to comment about this article or have ideas about future articles, please email me at les@execsearchintl.com.


Related Links 

About Les Gore

Les Gore, founder and managing partner of Boston-based Executive Search International has more than 25 years of recruiting, career development and human capital experience, working with individuals and organizations ranging from multinational corporations to small, entrepreneurial businesses.

Contact Us

Executive Search International
1525 Centre Street
Newton, MA  02461