Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Enjoy, Thrive At Work Despite a Bad Boss

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 2 million people quit their job every month in 2013. A 2013 Gallup Poll shows that much of the discontent at work that could lead to job flight has to do with negative behavior by an employee’s immediate boss. Instead of feeling pressured to seek new employment in a tight job market, workers can often times learn to thrive in their current job despite a bad boss.

You can’t change a bad boss. You can complain to friends, relatives and co-workers all you want but that doesn’t change a thing. Instead, shift your focus from what you can’t change to what you can change.

Depending on the boss type, each bad boss has a typical set of fears and desires. A finger pointing boss always wants to be successful, for example, but he has a tremendous fear of failing. So instead of accepting responsibility for things that go wrong, he wants to push the blame onto others—usually you.

Working in that type of environment is difficult, but with the right strategy, you can come out ahead. With a finger pointing boss, become his or her go-to person with solutions to problems. That way, when a mistake occurs, you’ll be the one who can provide fixes. He’ll come to rely on you and in return, you’ll have much more power around the office. That’s a position that can pay dividends when it’s time for a raise, promotion or when seeking other employment.

Stop looking at a bad boss as some monolithic horror who is keeping you in misery, and instead, begin looking at your boss as a person with fears and desires that you can manage to your advantage.

This shift in focus takes time and patience but it can pay dividends. Switching from being depressed and miserable because of a bad boss to figuring out how to work your boss for your own benefit is well worth the effort. It’s a challenge and won’t be easy, but you’ll feel much better about yourself and actually enjoy going to work each day

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Give Your Bad Boss Compelling Reasons Why You Deserve That Promotion

A Good Boss may notice when you deserve a promotion, and put your name on the short list. A Bad Boss is highly unlikely to do so. Ever.

It’s up to you to make sure you give your Bad Boss adequate reasons--let’s rephrase that--compelling reasons to consider you for that promotion or raise.
Frankly, it’s good practice to do with a Good Boss as well. It’s just that with a Bad Boss, it’s absolutely essential.

The following suggestions made in the context of an article by Amy Levin-Epstein (MoneyWatch/CBS News) are great tips for how to do just that:

“Talk about why you already deserve the title [or promotion or raise]. For instance, have you recently gotten an advanced degree in your field? "A degree may qualify you for a promotion, especially if a degree (first degree or advanced degree) is a requirement for a higher level position within your organization," says Cheryl Palmer, founder of Call to Career, a career-coaching firm. Or, if you stood in for your manager when he was on leave, focus on that during your review [or request for promotion]. In other words, hone in on anything that shows you are already performing functions (or are educated) above your title and pay grade.

“Note what's in it for them. Why would your company benefit from promoting you and giving you more responsibility? "For example, you may have some ideas that would significantly contribute to the success of a new initiative, and a promotion would give you the opportunity to implement those ideas," says Palmer.”

Remember in grade school, when you were asked to “show your long division”? The same principle applies here. Don’t expect your boss to know why you deserve that promotion, raise or even perk. Show your long division, the specific whys and wherefores you should receive it, and your chances of getting it will vastly increase.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Wanna Succeed? Be a Solution-Giver, Not a Problem-Bringer

It’s tempting to blame your Bad Boss for all the misery in your job and the impediments to your career advancement. And certainly, your Bad Boss deserves a good chunk of the blame.

However . . . you may be contributing to your lack of forward progress, too. I know, hard to acknowledge, but bear with me here.

Let’s say you have a problem--with a co-worker, a project, whatever--and you go to your boss with it. Logical, right? But here’s the thing, if all you go to your boss with is your problem, your boss--whether a Good Boss, Mediocre Boss, or Bad Boss--is going to get fed up with you, pretty quickly.

As Todd Cherches, CEO of Big Blue Gumball, said to Catherine Conlan, Contributing Writer, in discussing things bosses hate:

“Your job is not to create more work for your boss, it’s to create less and to help your boss be successful. You are not expected to have all the answers, and you may not be empowered to make the final decision and/or take action. But when you go to your boss, you should come prepared with two or three viable options, the relative pros and cons of each, and your top recommendation.”

Anyone can come up with problems. Only a Work Pro, that most valuable of employees in any business, comes up with solutions. Whether those particular solutions are adopted or not, isn’t important. What matters is that you made the effort to suggest reasonable, doable solutions. That’s what sets you ahead of the pack.