bodhisutraThis is one of the very frequent questions in our class discussions - how to handle difficult bosses?
It comes in different formats because 'difficult bosses' come in different shapes and sizes.
a) My boss is surrounded by sycophants. I get all the work while his pet boys get all the credit. And increments.
b) My boss calls me at unearthly hours. I cannot leave before he leaves even if I have completed all my work.
c) My boss talks rudely to me and does not listen.
d) My boss doesn't appreciate my effort.
And so on.
What has been the experience of the senior people here? What practical ideas can be put forward for this issue? Please share your experience.
From India, Delhi
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nathraoBad bosses are plenty in our lives.
In my experience a boss who is sweating for his next rank/promotion is the man who will keep pushing his subordinates.
Now it purely a matter of luck whether such a boss is one who feels supporting good performing subordinates will help him grow or the type of boss who is worried that good subordinates may steal his thunder and credit for good work may nt come to him.
In typical government set ups bosses are always wanting to keep tail clear and keep avoiding decisions.They get swayed by union pressures and what he perceives as top managements desires.
Personal biases abut subordinates is among the most common traits of bosses.His pets can do no wrong and those whom he develops a dislike can do no right.
Some bosses I have worked were broad minded and gave subordinates credit and were supportive.Mistakes done were always viewed positively-mistakes happen when work.
Such bosses are unfortunately too less in our present environment.
From India, Pune
V.RaghunathanDear Mr Bodhisutra,
It is good to see a post from you after a very long time and you have brought to the forum an evergreen topic on BOSS!
I am happy to share my experiences and some learnings as I pen down answers to your queries maintaining the seriatim.
a) Sycophants (or coterie) are an extended version of the manifestation of a rude boss. The bosses nurture them to no ends, so that they can continue their whimsical ways merrily. Can you do something about the boss? Simple answer would be NO. Same is the case with sycophants. There is seldom any tactic available to dethrow them. Then the option (if you want to continue with the same boss) will be to endure. If possible do not bump into any of them. It will only make your agony more. Increment can be to your liking only when you dictate terms. Moral is grin and bear it.
b) To be on the lighter side unearthly hours are also earthly hours some where else! Tough bosses make their own rules. They do not know empathy. They know how to torment. So consider your options.
c) Yet another characteristic of a boss. Rudeness and impatience( in not listening) are a part of their armoury to destabilize the other person. Well it may be easy to say. Please develop tolerance. After all, there are so many dogs that bark without any purpose. Simply improve your own listening skills by switching off to any nonsense that is being uttered.
d) This point can be seen as a corollary of what we have seen in (a). It will be a surprise if he does appreciate.
Having seen all the above, what is the way out? If you really want a solution it is to get out. Can you? In most cases answer may be no. There may be so many constraints.
There may be many plus points in this job and will be known only when you start digging. Will you be easily accepted any where else with the same or better salary. One can not be sure of that.
What if, after a change you land with another BOSS who would make you think that the previous one was after all not that bad. Hindsight wisdom may be too late.
This is where management gurus like Stephen Covey come to our rescue. To be proactive is the key. One who is suffering has to read his concepts on
FREEDOM TO CHOOSE. I have enclosed a slide for the benefit of viewers to immediately recall and appreciate the useful concept.
I have also given below the views previously expressed by our members on this topic.
I am curious to get other view points and feedback.
Thanks for the good post that describes the problem faced by many.