How to work effectively with a difficult boss


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    Key Books

    You Don't Have to Take It!: A Woman's Guide to Confronting Emotional Abuse at Work

    Fighting Back: Overcoming Bullying in the Workplace

    Coping With Difficult Bosses

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    Women vs men boss

    Posted by: straightshooter
    Date: 12/9/2005 8:28:24 AM

    I would like to hear some comments on female vs male bossology.I personally am a female and I find male bosses to be better in many ways - they are fairer, do not cultivate "pets", do not gossip much, are more performance oriented and do not tend to micromanage unless they are control freaks (which I have not had). On the contrary, female bosses have overblown egos, are extremely sensitive to gossip and negative comments about their personae, are pathologically jealous and create an atmosphere of "girliness" - I had one colleague send our female boss Valentine cards and gifts. They are also more vindictive and even cruel (some cases relate to personal health issues and family matters).

    Reply from: Karra
    Date: 12/12/2005 12:57:00 AM
    Reply: You have a point. Women tend to be more detail oriented, and men prefer to look at the big picture. I've noticed women tend to take too much on, then get crabby, while men sometimes overdo it with the delegating and end up being out of touch with what's going on. I've had great male and female bosses. Personally, I hate being micro-managed and have found the male managers a little more laid back in this respect. However, the problem with generalizing is you're setting yourself up to prejugding individuals based on their gender instead of judging their performance. The best boss I've had was a woman. She ruled!!

    Reply from: mindym22
    Date: 12/23/2005 10:39:00 AM
    Reply: As a woman I hate to say this, but I have had better luck with male bosses. Women can be very catty, petty and jealous. A few years ago I worked in an office with 2 female bosses, and 5 other women. One of the female bosses was, well lets just say she was very sloppy in dressing and NOT attractive. A woman started in the office who was very good with clients and a very good performer. She was in her 20's and looked like a model. The boss was constantly on her case, waiting for her to make a mistake. The new employee was very eager to do well and took her comments in stride. Until one day, when the manager went a litle too far. She screamed at the poor woman for a very minor mistake. The employee calmly responed. This only enraged the manager more who shouted louder, and walked towards her, pointing her finger in her face about 2 inches away from her nose. She must have had enough at this point because she said"get your finger out of my face, what you are doing right now is bordering on assault" The other manager stepped in after hearing the commotion and calmed the first manager down. The younger woman was or course quite upset. We tried to calm her down but she was literally shaking. She excused herself, we thought she was going to ladies room, but we looked outside 5 min later and her car was gone. She called the district manager, and said she had felt threatened by her boss's behavior, and removed herself from the situation. She was then tranferred to another location. Women have a tendency to get too emotional, or try to show tough they are.

    Reply from: Meg5455
    Date: 12/23/2005 7:30:00 PM
    Reply: My experience as a woman boss in a male dominated culture, has been a most frustrating and discouraging one. For many years, I have observed that men bosses are more respected by far than women -- regardless of experience and proven success. Men receive far more 'atta boys' and it seems that we women are always having to work twice as hard just to receive a small amount of recognition. It has also been my experience that women often oversee huge areas of responsibility but have little or no authority. I have been in numerous meetings where women's suggestions are continually put down while their male peers are applauded for their contributions. So, before you judge your woman boss too harshly, you might want to try to see things from her perspective. She may be getting discouraged and weary of fighting for what she believes in and doing what is best for you, her other staff and her department. I know that is how I often feel -- in the midst of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, I fight for my staff and my department. And then when I show any sign of emotions, the women on my staff gossip and nit-pick about my weaknesses. Women and men all make mistakes -- we all have strengths and weaknesses -- and yet women can be so much more nasty to their women bosses then they would ever even think of being to a male boss. The glass ceiling is alive and well!

    Reply from: anett
    Date: 12/24/2005 7:39:00 PM
    Reply: I must agree with the last comment. The glass ceiling is definitely alive, however it's becoming such a cliché. Ever wonder why a female boss is more likely to be catty yet has to constantly try to prove her toughness? My observation on it is the very fact that women feel they will never be perceived as authoritative as men. It is so difficult for me to work with female who are threatened by one another. It's so tedious. I don't think it's the gender as much as it is the personal understanding and views of the gender role. If a female boss is insecure about her skills and abilities she is more likely to be the type to be catty and such. Not to say that men can't be the same way. I have a male boss who might as well have been a woman. He is so insecure and intimidated by everyone that no-idea is ever a good idea to him. All I could say to everyone reading this is to be strong and be aware that any negative energy you feel towards someone was projected from that person. Therefore, female/male doesn't matter, you should have the focus in mind, know where you're headed and who cares if you have to be put down by someone who is never going to get anywhere near your destiny. Narrow minded people will always stay small.

    Reply from: mindym22
    Date: 12/29/2005 2:08:00 PM
    Reply: I realize the workplace can be difficult for women, but behaving in a threatening manner due to personal jealousy in never, ever acceptable.

    Reply from: CB4721
    Date: 1/4/2006 9:13:00 PM
    Reply: I have a boss who seems jealous, too. She does things that are obviously out of jealousy. She makes those good women bosses look bad, unfortunately. I am no model, but, I tend to make friends easily and get along with the male and female coworkers very well. I am a female 27 year old with many accomplishments...I think she feels threatened by me, therefore feels the need to attempt to make me look bad...I realized recently that she is failing at it and that her efforts are only leading to her own demise. It made me feel good to know that I have support and that the insecurities I was feeling with her constant negative feedback was uncalled for and not at all valid. When we allow ourselves to believe things, I have learned that we just need to step back and gain some perspective. It helps to hear from others who can see both sides, too. Male bosses have always been better for me, but it could be that females are naturally more competetive with one another and men know how to handle their competition and to leave emotion out of it.

    Reply from: Karra
    Date: 1/7/2006 1:06:00 AM
    Reply: I sit next to a guy who is a peer and this guy never misses an opportunity to act superior. He doesn’t hide the fact he looks down on women. He puts so much effort into building his ego that there isn’t much left for his work and he is always coming to me for help, buttering me up with comments how I am an expert in the area he needs help with. He acts like I am his assistant. The understanding is that as an “expert in my area” I need to help him now and then. However, if I don’t drop what I’m working on immediately he gets very resentful, makes catty comments, and/or throws hostile looks over the cubicle walls. He has complained to the manager. Yet I’ve helped this guy a lot! It’s always by way of verbal discussions. He refuses my offers to send him details/info by email. This way no one can tell how much help he receives and how little he knows. It’s an open environment and they are very low cubicle walls and it’s all I can do to keep myself from flinging coffee mugs and things, in fact anything not bolted or attached, at his pompous head bobbing over his monitor. He is the most gossipy, catty, bitchy person I’ve ever worked with!

    Reply from: Karra
    Date: 1/7/2006 1:10:00 AM
    Reply: ...(not quite done sorry)..When I do help him his typical reaction is to argue or challenge until he gets the information he needs at which point he says he already knew all that then scurries back to his desk like a rat to write it all down. It takes him forever to understand the simplest concepts because he is too busy talking to listen. He rarely says thank you. I think guys like this are what makes us women crabby and bitter, which could be mistaken for jealousy by other women. This guy behaves in a sickly sweet condescending manner toward his “subordinates” particularly toward the women, which could be mistaken for niceness by some. What you see isn’t always what you get. Bullying and hostile behavior can be subtle. Anyway, I wonder what the guys here think? It would be interesting to hear their perspective.

    Reply from: Desert Rose
    Date: 1/25/2006 10:48:00 PM
    Reply: I work in an office of 4 women. I have 1 female boss and 1 female team lead. the boss runs the entire business, the other one who is not in a supervisory/management role, but rather a team lead position (supervised by the big boss), where she manages the work-flow & NOT the people. so, when personality issues arise she takes it to the big boss. The sad part is the big boss and the team lead mingle outside of work. a conflict of interest because the big boss directly supervises the team lead as well as the rest of the women in my office.The team lead is nasty! she will encourage the others in our office to lie to employees. I've told her that I refused to lie. she becomes upset with me & goes to the big boss, accusing me of refusing to cooperate with her.This team lead is always making derogatory, sarcastic, rude remarks to me or other co-workers. example--- last year, I received a promotion within our office.she told me directly, that the only reason I got promoted wasn't because of my knowledge & skills, but rather because out of all the selectees, I was the best of the worst of the candidates. the final decision hinged on personality! final note on this team lead she is a micromanaging control freak. Now, tell me that female bosses are good to have.. I have had male bosses in the past & never did I experience such hostile, cruelity in the workplace!

    Reply from: Karra
    Date: 1/29/2006 3:32:00 PM
    Reply: There is this misconception that we have to like our co-workers and that they have to be nice. But an idiot has as much right to be an idiot as you have a right not to be. I work in a difficult environment myself where bullying tactics, dirty looks, disrespectful and hostile behavior are the norm. Don’t let it get personal. Keep it professional. It sounds as if your team lead may resent your promotion. Maybe she’s afraid of competition. Here is a question for you. If your roles were suddenly switched, would you treat her fairly? Or would you favor your male employees?

    Reply from: gqtrader
    Date: 1/31/2006 11:18:00 AM
    Reply: Avoid conflict with your boss and particularly avoid conflict with a female boss. The key word is sensitivity. Female bosses along with their accomplishments have heightened sensitivity. And unfortunately you do not realize when you may trigger a vicious response based on a sensitive issue or at a moment when she is more sensitive. Unfortunately, once you are on her bad side, you are in a heap of future problems. So in conclusion, I do not recommend taking a position with a female boss.

    Reply from: Karra
    Date: 2/2/2006 9:32:00 PM
    Reply: Perhaps we should all just go back to the kitchen where we belong and get busy peeling those potatoes.

    Reply from: Desert Rose
    Date: 2/2/2006 10:10:00 PM
    Reply: Yes, I think the resentment of my promotion is a key factor in the conflict. I also believe its because We share a history with another former lead - whom this current one hates. she called our former lead (who took another position elsewhere) "TEFLON" because she didn't like how the former team leader led the office. I sided with the former lead. in fact, her last day in our office, the current lead had a little 'celebration' party, wishing her good luck. after the former lead left the office, the new one asked if "TEFLON" had left the building yet. She couldn't wait to get into the team lead office. Karra, I think you've asked a fair question. would I treat her fairly if I was in charge? the answer is - as much as i despise this woman, yes i would because of my values. Once, I was an office manager for the Census Bureau and i dealt with conflict on a grander scale & built a successful team. we still all stay in touch(clerks/supervisors) and that was 6 1/2 yrs ago.

    Reply from: Karra
    Date: 2/3/2006 2:17:00 PM
    Reply: That’s wonderful to hear. It’s nice to hear that it can be done.. . that we women can lead as well as follow! One of the reasons I asked is I will be in those shoes (sort of) shortly… am acquiring a team member who was working under someone who led her team like some demented high school clique. Those of us who refused to participate became the “enemy”. Being a team lead rather than a manager is a challenge as you get the responsibility and accountability without any real authority. Escalating every incident of juvenile behavior to the manager would end up being perceived as whining. So the rest of us lived with it. Anyway, treating this person unfairly would be unproductive, as well as do nothing for me as a human being. Plus cannot compare to the hellish fate she must be imagining is waiting for her, haha!

    Reply from: Desert Rose
    Date: 2/3/2006 10:29:00 PM
    Reply: When I was an office manager, the key to success was treating people with respect & a sense of worth.I believe, one of the key factors to building a successful team is being able to "Lead by example". A good leader doesn't lead from the front of a pack, but rather from behind. they encourage, build up, & spur their staff on to growth. A good leader is also a good listener & open mind to new ideas. They don't rule their office with an iron fist.. but rather take charge thru compromise, showing grace. I have also found that when you give people ownership of their work, they care about their jobs and have a healthy attitude. You also avoid all the grumbling & drama. I also believe in being fair & balanced when dealing with conflict. my approach is to gather the individual facts first, and get to the "heart" of the problem before talking to the individuals involved. NEVER approach employees with an accusatory attitude/tone. ALWAYS ask questions & offer advice on how to avoid the same issue. Its when the issue happens again, that the next level of conflict-resolution is needed - verbal/written reprimands begin. I wish you the best with the new employee. :)

    Reply from: tweener
    Date: 2/9/2006 9:24:00 PM
    Reply: I can't really say that a man or woman makes a better boss. I do know, right now, that the female boss I do have is terrible. I came into the department hearing the rumers, but ignored them, hoping it would be different for me. Micromanaging, bullying, partial information, overloading - it's a mess. In the 7 months I've held the job, one of the other positions in the department has had 3 different people, all hired from the outside, where usually they have always been filled from inside the company. I really like my job, but I have ask myself at what point does it surpass my love of my job? The head office knows about it, but can't do anything because it is at a location level problem. There is a fine line that she walks, and she knows how to walk it.

    Reply from: Karra
    Date: 2/15/2006 12:11:00 AM
    Reply: To Desert Rose: You make some very good points about what makes a good leader. Thank you for your advice and warm wishes! To Tweener: I think environment is as important as the work. Some employees thrive under micromanaging bosses. If you hang on to this job you may miss out on better opportunities that may be out there.

    Reply from: deeelicious
    Date: 2/9/2007 6:40:00 AM
    Reply: i am so so glad to hear i'm not the only one. i am REALLY struggling with the whole female boss...i have always had them as work in marketing which is very 'girlie'...they are a total nightmare i cant stand it...too much baggage, issues, jealousy, comments on my clothes, hair blah blah. drives me constantly in competition, constantly being watched. i can only put it down to feelings of being threatened; jealousy.

    Reply from: liver
    Date: 10/22/2007 9:45:00 AM
    Reply: i m a male. but i seriously think female bosses are far better.they are more humane compassionate and understanding than their rigid egoistic male counterparts. also with female boss their is no problem of unfair promotion.female bosses can handle situation more efficiently and can handle their subordinates in a much better manner

    Reply from: ladyboss
    Date: 4/17/2009 11:11:00 PM
    Reply: I am a female. i grew from a entry level position to manager now. my boss who used to encourage me and recognise my effort now feels intimidated by me . why... some things he says .."why isnt the staff looking for me" , " i am no longer needed in this office" .. but to me he mentions i have handed the reins over to you.. but he insults me in front of junior staffs to make himself feel imprtant...he clearly has big EGO problems. also not all female bosses are naggy and control do exists with those traits too. its not about the gender. its about the capability. Women are just thorough.

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