How to work effectively with a difficult boss


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    Key Books

    Coward's Guide to Conflict

    Managing Up : How to Forge an Effective Relationship With Those Above You

    In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing With Manipulative People

    Learning to cope with a `toxic boss'

    "She called her new assistant by the wrong name and didn't care. Her coffee had to be on her desk first thing — hot — or else. She didn't want to hear an excuse, she just wanted it done. No matter what "it" was."

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    Comments: [add a comment]

    User: prettipoet
    Date: 8/3/2006 9:58:00 PM

    What do you do when your boss gets a kick out of degrading you and other co-workers both verbally and via email? What do you do when your boss threatens you and uses intimidation to control you? What do you do when your boss segregates you from other team members, not allowing any real communucation between you so that there is no team communication, thus giving him full autonomy and opportunity to treat you any way that he feels?

    User: anonymous
    Date: 8/22/2006 2:33:00 AM

    It seems like this is an epidemic. I am trying to figure it out myself.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 8/31/2006 12:51:00 AM

    It's a shame isn't it! I am in a situation right now. I have never had a boss treat me so badly. It is humiliating. I tried talking to her about it and things changed for a short time (a couple of days). The next step was to talk to someone at Human Resources and made a formal complaint. I am still on probation, so I could lose my job. I don't care. I am looking for another one anyway. I just don't want others to have to deal wth it. Maybe it will alert higher ups to why SO many have left under this bosses leadership.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 10/24/2006 2:22:00 AM

    my boss threnten my job today by saing in a loud angrey voice what will your family do if you were out of a job. What do you think i should do?

    User: analimxela
    Date: 12/2/2006 8:01:00 PM

    My boss is the King, and we are his subjects. I know because he said so in our last meeting. He has humiliated me and others so many times in front of other coworkers. I really need my job, so I'm a bit scared to let him have it. Any advice would be appreciated.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 12/20/2006 4:39:00 AM

    Well I would get a new one!

    User: emarie
    Date: 12/23/2006 8:36:00 PM

    anonymous, IU am SO sorry for the toxicity of your workplace. I never know what to say at the time either, but when he asked what your family would do if you lost your job, you could have said, "they would suffer a great deal and we would end up on the street, so I'm grateful to you for mentporing me and calling to my attentions areas where you would like me to improve. What you just said sounded threatening and scary, so I will be very grateful if you'll work with me so I am able to provide you with the service you need." Say it sincerely. Call it what is is, gently: a threat, but then challenge your boss to do his/her job and to maximize your potential. And start, from home, looking for other work. This one sounds like he/she gets off on torturing people.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/14/2007 5:48:00 PM

    I hope this makes me feel better, my boss is a habitual liar he lies about everything. He also takes responsibility for nothing that goes wrong. He buzzes me on the phone and in this wierd anxiety voice calls me in his office and actually puts me on the spot and pressures me for more sales. I do the best i can, all the responsibility is placed on me. I put it back on him and he puts it on me. He does nothing to help his company. And on top of it he asks me every month if i could wait to get my commission check. There is a lot of anxiety. Right now i am looking for another position.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/20/2007 12:24:00 AM

    My manager is driving me toward a heart attack. She micromanages and denies it. She tells me not to do something, and then does it. She wants to be my mother, and my best friend, and my teammate. She treats me like a charity case. Without her, I would be happy. I am making more money now than I ever did before, with more potential opportunity than most people get in their lives, and I'm trying to find a new job.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/30/2007 1:47:00 PM

    Do you work with me?

    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/30/2007 1:50:00 PM

    I have never worked in an environment where the boss puts her energy into making everyones lives miserable. Lies, trys to make sure no one likes one another so she can talk about everyone and not get caught. But mine has finally gotten caught and the truth is all coming out.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/30/2007 1:53:00 PM

    always talk to the higher up especially if all of you feel the same way and are ready to leave your job because of this individual/ it is them not you if everyone sees it

    User: terrikoob
    Date: 2/15/2007 8:07:00 PM

    I have worked in a ver hostile work enviroment. I was constantly put down, made ashamed of myself. I was told that he was going to get rid of me. The music he played in the kitchen contained of rap, that had all the bad words, and women where put down in the music. It was disgusting music. And then he threaten me, I told and was called a liar. They did not deal with him, he was trained to do it this way I was told and nothing will be changed. It is his kitchen. It was a ver hostile and abusive work enviroment.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 4/6/2007 9:42:00 PM

    I work my tail off trying to get everything done. I asked my boss for overtime and he never responded to me about it, he told me today if I can't get my it done the he'll find someone who will, and threatened me by saying if you don't have it done by next week he's writing me up. I am furious.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 4/7/2007 5:06:00 PM

    My boss talks badly about my co-workers. She is unhappy with her personal life and takes it out on us. If we are sick or have an emergency, we have to find person to work. Death n family and have to miss work and get taken off schedule 4 a week. And she is changing timecards and i am not paid 4 work thats done.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 4/14/2007 10:30:00 PM

    How about dealing with an alcoholic boss, who never takes responsibility, looks for scapegoats for his own dumb decisions and actions, denies that he said what he told you to do a week ago, procrastinates by telling everyone that he'll "take care of it" and hardly ever does, and continues to tell stories of when he was in the Army 40 yrs. ago? We (the staff) all stay because we've formed an extended family bond with each other.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 4/29/2007 9:30:00 AM

    see I think I have checked every one of the categories !

    User: anonymous
    Date: 5/4/2007 8:36:00 AM

    I've been reading all the comments and I feel both angry and upset for all people who have to deal with a toxic or bully boss. However, perhaps there may be measures that can be taken to have this destructive individual take responisiblity for their actions. Start by keeping a detailed diary of ant time he/she berates you e.g date/time, what was said and also keep any nasty e-mails/telecommunication recorded, start to build up evidence, next, report all this to H.R (if you have one). You will look more credible and more likely to be taken seriuosley if you are calm and have this evidence, in the event that you do not have HR department, then you can either join a union (yesthey do exist) or if it is more severe, they can be taken to court.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 5/22/2007 3:57:00 PM

    I had a toxic boss for 1.5 yrs. I knew she wanted to be rid of me in spite of my excellent (her words, my review) work andcustomer service record. i warned her boss when i saw writing on the wall. i was ignored. she fired another for making a harrassment complaint against her. she was director of HR and didn't like people or the business the company was in. 1 year later i'm in a happier place and she was recently fired for her toxic behavior that caused 99% staff turnover during her time in job. Sooner or later it always catches up to them.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 6/7/2007 4:32:00 PM

    sounds like many of you work w me at UPS inside sales san antonio - UPS elsewhere is an outstanding company - however, in san antonio, nano mgt is supreme and leadership woefully weak- especially the middle mgt whom never managed at all- a sales environment dictated by operations culture - a stopwatch to guage everything - doesnt work - sucks the life out its employees

    User: anonymous
    Date: 6/15/2007 11:44:00 AM

    I am a fired salesman for a warranty company. I found that my ex-boss was downright unstable. he would start a conversation in a kind manner and then begin to become verbally abusive with a smile on his face. Yesterday, he fired me right after praised me for a job well done. He is a sexist, foul mouthed,uneducated manager that flirts and harasses women at the workplace. He will get his soon by a injured female worker in the near future.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 8/5/2007 2:02:00 PM

    My problem is--the bully boss in my life IS the Director of our Human Resource Department. There is nowhere to go. She has her superiors so snowed they can't see her as the rest of us see her. I've come to the conclusion she is evil...pure evil

    User: anonymous
    Date: 8/7/2007 6:56:00 PM

    Try someone whom has cut your wages by $500.00 a mo., since the year 2002 and keep's telling me oh once we reach our goal I'm going to give back your wages! Here I'm still waiting! By the way from the horse mouth he said he has had to sell off all 7 of his homes in which was aquired during my employment, ok get this, this guy would hold payroll payday for all of us would 1st and the 15th say if the first landed on Saturday he hold it till late Monday!Now I understand to aquire those homes!! What a dirty dog!!! Who the way in the name of Christ oh yes he'll prey with you. Ok the new crap and the last he went to Hawaii told me he didn't have any funds to pay me, but he write my check out and ask me to wait till yesterday to cash it. HERE THE BIG ONE I CALLED THE BANK TO CHECK. IF YOU GUESS HE HAS NO MONEY IN THE BANK YOUR RIGHT! THIS GUY DIDN'T EVEN LEAVE T.P.....WHAT TO DO GO AHEAD HE'LL BE BACK THE 13TH.. I'M WAITTING TO SEE HIS FACE..ANYONE WITH SOME GOOD LEGAL STUFF. I'M ALL EAR'S

    User: anonymous
    Date: 8/8/2007 8:25:00 PM

    Hi, My boss use to be nice to me until recently he brought in his pal. He forced me to report to him and I denied it politely cause that guy is so young and arrogant with little work knowledge. So,instead he start going around getting consensus with people who has been difficult when I first joined the organization. All the time, I update all the task I am accomplishing and suddenly last week he is asking me back what is value I have brought. He started insulting by saying I am not dedicated etc. What frustrates me is the organisation is implementing some of the ideas I have proposed but instead being ungrateful. The worst part is he goes around bitches about me and degrading my qualities and sayig things which are not true. How do I deal with it? He is loading me with tons of job thru the new guy.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 8/15/2007 8:38:00 PM

    I worked for a toxic boss devil and his supervisor was his diciple I finally quit I think that was a healthy decision!!!

    User: anonymous
    Date: 8/25/2007 1:25:00 AM

    supervisors that give you inaccurate directions, assign tasks piece meal,change their minds every five seconds or waits until final hour to put complete a project or report and blame you for any inaccuracies....I could go on forever! Companies should do a better job of recruiting management.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 8/29/2007 10:45:00 AM

    As adults we choose to be victims especially in the workplace. There is always two sides of the story which I have seen in a call centre environment. Same processes and job responsibilities, don't really change just consistent. But all too soon the same behaviours start by my colleagues for their lack of commitment or ability to "make the grade" of their basic job requirements (which we are all paid very well). Take a good look at the situation your own actions are bringing into existance. If you do not have the power to change the situation; or another person's behaviour towards you then.....LEAVE no one is chain to their desk!!

    User: anonymous
    Date: 9/1/2007 7:20:00 AM

    I have a good boss in conversation but never appreciate work well done. Rather finding faults. The most annoying is that he never trusted anybody.He always have a reason to give either poor biz growth, profit magine being low etc., when it comes to incremnts. He constantly creating more jobs to us and hardly say thanks. Can we (workers)change him? Pls advise.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 9/7/2007 2:17:00 PM

    My boss is a great lady, when you're chatting. But as soon as she's thinking about work she's miserable and emotional and a liar. She's the owner of this small company, she does nothing for a living and hasn't for many, many years. I wouldn't normally have an objection to this, I can handle the moods, but the company's been having ever increasing money issues because of her personal spending and very poor business decision making (decisions made against management and accountant advice). This directly affects me in every way. In a commission scenario it's not right to hand your #1 sales account over to an employee without compensating them appropriately for the work they're performing. I'm tired of the sob stories so you'll feel sorry for her. Or the complaining that her other employees don't have a clue and aren't as talented as she is (laugh), when they've never seen that talent and she does nothing to lead or guide anyone. I'm tired of running the company for her and having her just suck it dry! Serenity Now!!!

    User: anonymous
    Date: 9/19/2007 12:33:00 PM

    alright my turn, my sister and brotherinlaw own there own company, last summer some of there people quit on them i wonder why, so she calls me crying to come help i worked there 13 yrs before hand, and now i was a mt, i came in and helped and then it started to turn into more,and more, and then i had to file bk,and i am going through foreclosure, so he comes in sick as a dog, from his 6wks vacation, and i got sick, then i go in, and remember i am his sisterinlaw and just slams things at me, told me he had the worst wk of his life and that i can never leave my desk on done, he screamed at me, it was awful all i ever did was come in and help and once again he took advantage of it, i let him, he is a jerk and now my sister wont talk to me dont ever work for family.and i am really going to be homeless soon, i dont know where we are going, but i came in everyday dammit with a smile on my face and 100%, i gave up my mt to help my sister and it still wasnt good enough. thre is more but not enough time..i just wanted to vent i am so upset right now with all this anyways and now i lost my job, i walked out on him, he is rich and has never known what its like to have your debit card advice is walk out, you dont need that crap from anyone, i have worked in good enivironments so there out there..employees rule! if it matters i am 43

    User: anonymous
    Date: 10/16/2007 8:01:00 AM

    This goes on, because it is acceptable in the business environment. The opposite is taught in business schools, but when they get out, it's every man for himself. It shows what our nation is really made of, and this is supposed to be a Judeo-Christian nation, but it seems as long as money and power are the pursuit, they can check their morals at the door.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 12/28/2007 12:53:00 PM

    Sheila says, Any thoughts out there on this scenario where an owner of commercial property, while within legal rights to have security cameras installed, had done thusly without informing a particular worker - at least not until a month later, and only by word of another (employee) from the "inner circle". Would you feel violated?

    User: anonymous
    Date: 12/30/2007 2:49:00 PM

    Any idea what to do about coworkers who are always ( I mean 3-4 days a week) and the boss does nothing about it. I have things to do after work and the person who replaces me is always late,,,5-10 minutes up to more than an hour late. If I am late getting out of here, my child is late for school. (I work the graveyard shift) HElp!!! and yes!! I am looking for another position but it is driving me nuts!

    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/29/2008 10:24:00 PM

    I have a boss that will be drunk in the middle of the afternoon and make sexist and mean remarks followed by praise followed by unrealistic and incomplete requests... it's truly hell.

    User: anonymous
    Date: 3/6/2008 11:13:00 AM

    How to I counter the Associate Director when he consistantly remarks on how other organizations are getting rid of or farming out my particular job classification due to loss of financial stability. He keeps adding more to our plate saying that we (all working in my classification) need to distinguish ourselves from outside similar jobs inorder to justify our need and pay?

    User: anonymous
    Date: 1/22/2009 10:56:00 PM

    We (the employees of a small restaurant), had an 'intervention' with our alcoholic boss, and owner of the business. Two family members attended, as did his live-in girlfriend. We (the employees) were all fired. We did have recourse with the Labour Board here in Ontario. He was forced to rehire us, but one by one, cut our hours, and other things of that nature, until we were forced to seek other employment. I myself had been with him over 15 years. I suppose when you are ill, and alcoholism IS an illness, any loyalty just goes out the window, because alcoholics only care about themselves. GF, Ontario, Canada.

    User: zach stevens
    Date: 11/18/2009 6:53:00 AM

    You all really are a bunch of whiners, oh and im probably your boss.

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