Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Survival strategies for workers with bosses who are bullies, by Laura Petrecca, USA Today

Bosses often get a bad rap — mainly because they are just that: the boss.

These are the folks who scrutinize vacation day requests, ask for client reports to be revised and tell employees the company decided against 2010 raises. So naturally they will be closely scrutinized — and criticized — by workers, simply because they have such a large impact on their life.

"Bosses pack a wallop, especially on their direct reports," says Robert Sutton, author of Good Boss, Bad Boss.

However, there are many supportive, compassionate managers out there, Sutton says. "Most of us think our bosses are OK."

But for the folks toiling under a lousy manager, the daily stress can be severe. Some ways to deal with a bad boss:

•Have a heart-to-heart. "Perhaps your boss is one of those people who aren't aware of how they come across," Sutton says. It could be worth it to have a "gentle confrontation" with the manager in hopes of evoking a behavior change.

•Get help. "It's like a bully on the playground," says Tom Davenport, co-author of Manager Redefined. "At some point you have to go tell the teacher."

Employees should keep a detailed diary of a boss' bad behaviors and then bring up those specific instances when lodging a complaint.

"Don't talk about the way you feel. Don't say 'I'm hurt,' " says workplace consultant Catherine Mattice. Instead give very specific examples of how the boss crossed the line.

•Zone out. With some effort — be it meditation, therapy or another method — some folks are able to leave their work troubles at the office. "Learn the fine art of emotional detachment," Sutton says. "Try not to let it touch your soul."

•Update the résumé. "Start planning your escape," Sutton says. Sure, the economy may not be the best for job seekers, but those who put feelers out now will have a head start when the hiring freeze thaws.

Read the article on USA Today here: http://www.usatoday.com/money/workplace/2010-12-28-bullyboss28_ST_N.htm

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