Bad Bosses Articles

Subject: Bad Bosses Articles
From: "Steve Nichols" <writer -dot- nichols -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 13:16:06 -0500

Found these two articles online today.

The discussion comes up on the list sometimes about bad bosses, which
can certainly affect a writer's ability to do their job. I've had a
few bad ones in the past, fortunately I've got a good one right now.


Hate your boss?

Kyra Kyles
Published June 29, 2006

Screaming. Throwing temper tantrums. Pitting employees against
one another. These are just a few of the ways a bad boss can warp an
employee's experience—not only on movie screens, but also in real

Just ask Cristina, a graduate student living in Lakeview.

Cristina, 31, initially was excited about her first job out of
college. But instead of joining a young, fun start-up, Cristina found
herself at a 15-employee organization so dominated by "an atmosphere
of manipulation and intimidation" because of a sinister supervisor
that she has since sworn off working for small-business owners.

"I learned that entrepreneurs will sell you this spiel as if you'll
be getting all this responsibility, but in my case, it was all under
false pretense," said Cristina, who asked that her last name not be
published. "The guy I worked for did this to everyone he hired, making
sure to get people fresh out of school who didn't know what they were
getting into."

Bad bosses can exist in any size company, said John McKee, a
workplace consultant. In fact, "psychotic supervisors" often thrive
for years no matter how bad their behavior. These people often are
promoted because they are ruthless and relentless. They are often
oblivious to overworking their staff members. Company leadership may
mistake this for productivity, McKee said.

"Ghengis Khan probably sounded great in his mission statement, but
was likely a horrible person to work for," said McKee, who also is the
author of "21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot."

Bad bosses also can be very sneaky.

In Cristina's case, her boss singled out staffers and hit them up for
dirt on other employees.

"He didn't realize that we would go out, have drinks and compare
notes after work," Cristina said. "Still, it was uncomfortable having
someone ask repeatedly, 'How do you think so-and-so is doing?' "

Although experts said a boss should occasionally take the pulse of
employees, it's wrong to launch inquisitions.

"You might say, 'Manager, I need to say that I feel quite a bit
uncomfortable in answering those questions, could you be more specific
about what you're asking me,' " said Anita Madison, who trains
managers and employees for Chicago-based ComPsych. "I'd like to be
helpful, but perhaps I can't lend insight into this particular topic."

What if the boss doesn't back off?

"Divulge just a bit of harmless info to get that jerk off your back
without doing any disrespect or damage to the employee you're being
asked about," McKee said.

But what do you do if your boss is outright anti-social? Cristina
said her boss often threw tantrums in front of employees.

"If he had a bad meeting with investors and you happened to walk by
with a cup of coffee in your hand or you took a break that he felt was
a bit too long, he'd scream and shout at you," Cristina said. "It was
very demeaning."

However tempting it may be, don't shout back. Instead, give that
person (and yourself) at least a day or so to cool off, McKee said.

"You want to come to the person a day or so later and say, 'I
understand that you were frustrated with me yesterday, but I would
appreciate it if you would call me in and talk to me behind closed
doors instead of in front of my peers,' " McKee said. "Tell that
person it doesn't help if you're treated like a child or an idiot."

So your boss is a brute …

By Kyra Kyles
Published June 29, 2006

Are you tired of your supervisor's snippy comments? Do you and the
boss go through bouts of chilly silence? Do you get a case of "The
Mondays" every day of the week? Don't quit yet. Learn how to soothe a
psycho supervisor with some tips from business coach and author John

# Take stock. Do the benefits of the job outweigh the bad boss? If the
answer is yes, don't go around griping to co-workers at the water
cooler. Instead, set up a face-to-face with your boss to smooth out
the rough edges.

# Understand the "circle of success." McKee reminds you that it's your
job to make even the most bumbling bosses look good. If you're an
obvious asset, they may calm their antics and even help you succeed in
your career.

# Have presence. McKee tells his clients: "Sharks smell blood. Dogs
sense weakness. So do bad bosses." To command respect, look the part
through your style of dress, posture or work ethic.

# Keep up with the boss. It may sound unreasonable to work weekends,
after hours and even through lunch if that's what your boss is doing,
but it's a must. "If you want to get ahead in an organization, it's
very important that your boss believes you share the same work ethic,"
McKee said. "In management, we always hire in our own likeness. Even
psychotics need allies."

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