Hard Lessons: Even if your Boss Sucks, You Need to Change
By Daneal Charney
(the same goes for your teacher, your parent, etc.)
There will be times when you’ll need to be a chameleon in order to save a relationship with the person in charge. Early in my career, I had a control freak boss who made me crazy. She had a high need for detail and information – the opposite of my needs. It got my back up and, in turn, I pressed her hot buttons. Our relationship eventually began to deteriorate. Luckily, I was given some great advice: I needed to focus on what I could control, and change my style. When I acknowledged my boss’s need for more information and started to share more, she let go and we got back on track.
Learn the working style that appeals to your boss. If your boss is a detail-oriented person, provide written reports and lots of background information. If your boss is a people person, she may prefer person-to-person communication over e-mail. If she is informal, drop-by meetings may work better than structured appointments. Learn your boss’s needs and adapt.
It is important to know your boss’s pet peeves. Perhaps it’s people being late to meetings or interrupting her when the office door is closed. Find someone who worked with your boss in the past and ask for a list of these hot spots. Your boss’s personal assistant is a key person to get to know. Often, he’s the person who knows your boss best.
Just like your boss, you have your own hot buttons. Often these buttons are pushed when a person’s actions remind you of someone you don’t like or something negative that happened in the past. Try to see these annoyances as learning experiences, because you will undoubtedly have more work relationships in which the same behavior materializes. It is important that you know your own hot buttons so that you can self-manage your emotions. You cannot control the way your boss behaves but you can control your reaction.
Excerpted from Hitting Stryde: A Gen Y Survival Guide with 110 Actionable Shortcuts by co-author Daneal Charney. Reproduced with permission.
• Share your story of a terrible boss.
• What are your pet peeves when you are working with others?
• What is your own working style?
Daneal is a career coach and co-author of “Hitting Stryde: A Gen Y Career Survival Guide”. She has been featured in The Globe and Mail, The Canadian Learning Journal, The Metro and has contributed on-air career advice on Professionally Speaking TV, Life by Design, and The Small Business Big Ideas Show.
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