How To Manage A Difficult Boss.
7 tips to survive, even thrive, with a dominant 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.