Thursday, March 3, 2016

... easy strategies to manage a difficult manager

Yes, Your Boss Is Crazy

In his research, Nassir Ghaemi, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Tufts Medical Center and author of A First-Rate Madness, has found a connection between mental illness and great leaders. In times of crisis, he says the most effective leaders have often suffered from mild depression and bipolar disorder. Well, that confirms it. Your boss is crazy. Here are some easy strategies to manage a difficult manager.

Identify The Boss's Management Style

Executive coach and author of Make Difficult People Disappear, Monica Wofford says managers usually fall into one of four categories: a commander, focused on results; an organizer, focused on accuracy and process; a relater, focused on getting along; and an entertainer, focused on being appreciated.

Understand The Boss's Needs

Once you've determined the boss's style and personality, you should be in a better position to understand what they want from you. Someone focused on results wants to see you get results or talk to you about how to get them. A people-person boss might want to connect on a more personal level.

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Communicate In A Language They Will Understand

You have to meet the boss where they live. Don't offer a diatribe if your boss only wants the highlights. Similarly, if your boss gets defensive when you ask pointed questions, soften the way you ask and frame them.

Consider Timing

When broaching difficult issues, pick your timing carefully. Your boss may prickle by being challenged in front of others. Instead, pull them aside one-on-one at a time that is calm and not stressed by deadlines.

Set Boundaries

It's important to set boundaries to establish conditions that will help you be successful. If your boss interrupts you constantly by stopping by your desk, ask politely if you could finish the project and then meet at a specific time to speak. If you are being overburdened with assignments, remind the boss of what you're working on and ask which are priority.

Ask Questions

When dealing with a manager who doesn't give specific instructions or expectations or changes their mind frequently, ask questions that will make it easier for them to articulate what they want. For example: When would you like the proposal? About how many pages were you thinking? In the same format as the last one?

Don’t Take It Personally

For an emotionally explosive boss, it's critical not to take it personally. Usually they need to get something out of their systems and are over it in 20 minutes, says Wofford. However, if you do take it personally and react, it may only fuel the tantrum and escalate it further.

Point Out Mixed Messages

If you're dealing with a two-faced boss and don't know what you're going to get from moment-to-moment, Wofford suggests helping the person understand their behavior by, politely, pointing out contradictions.

Ask For Constructive Feedback

If you don't know where you stand with the boss or feel ignored, ask for feedback on a project-by-project basis. It could be framed as: How would you rate my performance on that project on a scale of one to 10? How could I get closer to 10 on the next one?

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