Wednesday, November 27, 2013

When You Bad Mouth Your Co-Workers, You Sabotage Your Success: Just Say "No!"

If there’s one thing you can’t afford to do, when you’re stuck with a Bad Boss, it’s bad mouth or otherwise disparage your co-workers. Why? Because your co-workers are often your best allies in obtaining resources, information, helpful tips, support and everything else you never get from your boss.

And yet, as Kathy Caprino states in a recent Forbes blog: “I’m astounded at how many people today feel completely comfortable ridiculing, disparaging or undermining their colleagues, co-workers and even their friends. “Other folks may call this “gossip.” … But backstabbing your colleagues is a special brand of negative behavior because it aims to hurt. And when you desire to hurt others, it will be you who suffers. In one job, I backstabbed a colleague because it seemed that she received all the accolades, promotions and perks because of her beauty and her obsequiousness to our bosses.

“All of that might have been true, but trying to take her down behind her back didn’t work. That behavior never will, in the long run. You’ll only embarrass and humiliate yourself and it will come back around to bite you eventually.”

Don’t. Just say "No." Refuse to indulge in the momentary quick fix talking bad about a co-worker or colleague provides.

Pull on your big boy/girl panties and treat your co-workers with respect. You know, the way you wish your Bad Boss would treat you but never does . . .

Monday, November 25, 2013

Withstand Your Bad Boss's Negative Impact on Your Self-Esteem: Get Your Superman Game Face On!

There are few experiences as demeaning as having a Bad Boss.

A Bad Boss will make you feel worthless, irrelevant, stupid, incompetent--need I go on?

In other words, a Bad Boss will totally tank your self-esteem and self-confidence, to where you slink around work like some sort of zombie reject. Yuck! How can you possibly get yourself up and out of that situation with zero self-worth? You can’t!

Remind yourself, with a change in attitude and a change in body postures, that you are a strong and worthy person, perfectly capable of leveraging your way to success in the long run.

A recent Harvard Business Review “Management Tip” offered the following, adapted from “Connect, Then Lead” by Amy J.C. Cuddy, Matthew Kohut, and John Neffinger: “Feel in command.

If you see yourself as an impostor, others will, too. Instead, believe in your abilities and you’ll project confidence, enthusiasm, and passion. “Stand up straight. Good posture does not mean the exaggerated chest-out pose known in the military as “standing at attention,” or raising one’s chin up high. It just means reaching your full height, using your muscles to straighten the S-curve in your spine.

“Get ahold of yourself. Twitching and fidgeting sends the signal that you’re not in control. Stillness demonstrates calm.”

Got it? Now that you’ve got your Superman game face on, back straight and fidgeting under control, you’ve mastered the first step to succeeding despite your Bad Boss. You’ve regained a sense of your personal power.

Onwards and upwards!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Don’t Spend the Rest of Your Work Life in Misery: Invest Time in Get-Out-of-Bad-Boss-Land Strategizing

You want to get ahead in your job, with your career, but how can you do that when you’re under the thumb of a Bad Boss? You complain about it, your worry about it, you kvetch about it, in short you do everything but do something about it! Mostly because you can’t think of anything you can do about it.

I hear you, I really do, but that’s usually because you’re investing in short term thinking. So you don’t put in the time to do the research that would guide you to a long term strategy.

According to the most recent American Time Use Survey, the average working American spends one-third (eight hours) of his/her time in a week day doing work-related activities. Only sleeping (an average of 8.74 hours per day) takes up more time than working. Another 2.8 hours per day we spend watching TV.

University of Texas economist Daniel Hamermesh said in the Wall Street Journal, "In sum, time people might have used productively is instead being squandered." You see, that’s because most of us are looking at the situation right in front of us, rather than considering what might come down the road.

You’re tired, you come back from an irritating day with your Bad Boss, and you don’t want to spend the next hour or so mapping out a “get out of Bad Boss land” strategy, you turn on the tube, or play video games, or whatever else you can think of to make yourself feel better.

 And that’s great, that’s terrific. But don’t be like the average senior in high school, who according to a UCLA study, spends only 1.5 hours a year on career planning. And other studies show that Americans invest more time in researching a car purchase than their home loan. That most brides spend two hours a week planning for a wedding usually for more than a year, while the wedding itself usually only lasts two to three hours.

Take some time, maybe on a Saturday afternoon, or that rare evening when you’re not totally fried, and give some thought to how you might leverage your strengths to get out of your Bad Boss department, or who you might find to mentor you out of there.

Invest some time in mapping out possible strategic moves for your success, long and short term. Your career is worth it!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Establish Your Competence: Talk First and Often!

Your Bad Boss won’t give you any help in distinguishing yourself from the rest of your co-workers, yet you’d dearly love to rise above peon status. You’ll have to pull yourself up by your own boot-straps--that’s a given--but how?

Talk first and often!

Anderson and Kilduff’s research (University of California, Berkeley) showed that: “dominant participants tended to offer more suggestions to the group, and that these individuals were perceived by the group, plus those observing the group, as the most competent.

 “Crucially, though, the study showed that not only did a leader's dominant behavior of itself encourage others to see that person as competent, but this was true even though their suggestions to the group were no better, or even worse than others. In reality the leaders did not always make the best contribution to the task, but their voices were usually heard first and most often.” When you find yourself in a meeting, don’t hang back.

Give suggestions, speak up before others do, even if you don’t think your suggestion is the brightest offering of the day. Go for it, with gusto. Speak with confidence, regardless of how brilliant or not-so-brilliant your offering is. Signal your competence to others, just by speaking up.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Never Let Your Bad Boss See You Sweat!

A Bad Boss can really put you through the wringer.  Especially the forever blaming, raging, and persistently critical types.

Yet you must still get your work done! And survive the day without a melt-down.

How about not only survive the day, but show your inner man/woman-of-steel that conveys competent self-confidence regardless of the heat blasting your way?

Michael Hess, CEO of Skooba Design, blogging about how to achieve stellar customer service, actually gives some excellent tips for workers laboring under a Bad Boss:

“Never let 'em see you sweat. A really hard-to-please customer can test even the best service professional, but it's a test you can and should pass with flying colors. Keep a genuine smile on your face (a fake one is worse than none at all), listen more than you talk. . . Take your opinions and emotions out of the equation. Too many employees take business personally, and while there are times when a customer has a problem with a specific employee, more often she is just shooting the messenger. It's not about you. . .”

Translated into effective tips for countering Bad Bossism:

Never let your Bad Boss see you sweat. Keep your cool (a smile would be out of place), most definitely listen rather than talk, and listen for what you can resolve that’s at the heart of your Bad Boss’s complaint.

Don’t take it personally! Bad Bosses are self-centered, insecure individuals. Sure, you may have messed up and need help getting back on track, but you never need to be lambasted. Helped and supported would be nice, but unlikely from a Bad Boss.

So, don’t take the bad behavior personally, look past it to whatever needs to be fixed, solved, or remedied, and put your calm-cool-collected focus squarely on that.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Don’t Let A "Misery Loves Company" Mindset Sabotage Your Success Path!

A department afflicted with a Bad Boss is a sorry sight. Low morale, poor motivation, performance and productivity levels sagging below the norm for the company. . . dismal and depressing.

Yet you want to rise above, you want to get to the top of the heap, not stay buried beneath it.

Without realizing it, you’re up against a double whammy: not only do you have a Bad Boss, but everyone else in your department is suffering from the same unsupportive situation--and dragging you down with them.

Recent research by Scott E. Carrell of the University of California-Davis shows that people may adopt the diet and exercise patterns of the least fit within a peer group. They don’t tend to emulate the most fit, rather they gravitate toward those who don’t make the grade. This is especially true of the lesser fit individuals.

 How does that apply to your Bad Boss situation? Well, if you don’t exert extra effort, you’ll be influenced by your equally unhappy co-workers to be even more unmotivated and unproductive than you already are!

But here’s the thing: if you don’t join in the water-cooler complaining sessions, if you surround yourself with friends outside of work who are happy and successful in their work, if you subscribe to positive-minded blogs and other such to keep yourself on an upward track, you can counteract the “peer group effect.”

Don’t let the “misery loves company” mindset sabotage your path to success! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Leverage Your Way Out of Your Bad Boss's Department by Cultivating a Higher Up Mentor!

You stew, you worry, you fret: yours is a Bad Boss, and despite your long hours of dedicated work, you’re getting nowhere.

You’d like to get the attention of your boss’s boss--or somebody with some clout in a different department--but you know that complaining to them won’t do a bit of good. Not only that, but appealing to a higher-up to get you out of your current position will only backfire, because that higher-up is bound to either see you as “a problem employee” or report on your dissatisfaction to your Bad Boss.

How can you get out of your dilemma successfully?

Develop a mentor relationship with a higher up you value and admire.

According to Dorie Clark, branding expert, The truth is, because so many people limit themselves, there's often not a lot of competition at the top. If there's a senior executive at your firm you really admire, reach out and see if he'll agree to be shadowed for a day. Unless you're writing to the worldwide CEO, there's probably little demand and he'll be flattered.”

Oh, you may not develop a mentor relationship in a day, but you’ve taken the first step towards it. Little by little, as you follow your mentor-to-be’s suggestions and advice, adopt his/her behaviors and attitudes as appropriate, you’ll gain the higher-up’s positive attention, which is how you can eventually leverage your way out of your Bad Boss’s department.

All of that without a single word of complaint about your Bad Boss, oh “not a problem employee” you!