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How To Get Your Boss Off Your Back
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How To Get Your Boss Off Your Back

Apr 3 2014, 6:23pm CDT | by

She’s demanding. He’s overbearing. She’s unpredictable. He plays favorites. We’ve all had leaders at some point in our career that spring to mind from at least one of those descriptions. And, the...

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16 weeks ago

How To Get Your Boss Off Your Back

Apr 3 2014, 6:23pm CDT | by

She’s demanding. He’s overbearing. She’s unpredictable. He plays favorites.

We’ve all had leaders at some point in our career that spring to mind from at least one of those descriptions. And, the memories, if you let them become vivid enough in your mind, can make your stomach churn still today. The bad news is; for a lot of people, that churning isn’t caused by a memory, they’re dealing with one of those people today.

As we interview people about their work and careers from all over the world, the topic of difficult bosses somehow creeps into the conversation. It often starts as an underlying joke—people compare their boss to Mr. Burns, the classic curmudgeon from the TV show The Simpsons, or they compare them to Miranda Priestly (played by Meryl Streep) the controlling perfectionist in the movie Devil Wears Prada. But, then, the conversation turns real. Often times, one of the people joking about how horrible their boss is tells us the truth—that their current boss is literally causing them emotional distress.

But, are bosses all that bad?

A 2013 survey of 2,000 employees, conducted by Harris Interactive in conjunction with career website Glassdoor, revealed that two out 10 respondents reported feeling that their boss had hurt their career. Half of the respondents said they had a positive impact. And, the rest say their bosses didn’t have any impact (which might be as sad as having a negative impact).

Meanwhile, a study of 1,100 workers from various industries and professions was carried out at the Université Francois Rabelais, and published in the Journal of Business and Psychology. This study suggests that bad bosses might not just impact your career, but also your personal relationship and your health. Yep, your bad boss could increase your risk of heart disease (and, they don’t have the immediate gratification of junk food).

So, the question is, is your boss just plain bad? And, how do you get him off your back?

Data collected by the O.C. Tanner Institute, spotlighting 1.7 million cases of award-winning work shows there is something you can do to hush your unreasonable boss. And, the solution is not what you might assume. No, you don’t need to stroke their ego. No, you don’t have to change your personality. No, you don’t necessarily have to bend to their every whim.

The study by the O.C. Tanner Institute actually found something much more simple about award-winning workers (most often awarded by their manager or supervisor). It found that employees who get appreciated for their work, quite simply, create a difference people love.

Consider those words for a second: create a difference people love. That doesn’t mean, “meets expectations.” It doesn’t mean, “tries their hardest or works the longest.” It doesn’t even mean, “pretend to like and admire your boss.” Instead, those words mean that a person not only did their job, but they created a difference—different than the expected, different than the assumed, and different than the last time.

How do you know if you’re making a difference your boss will love?

1. Ask, “Who are they trying to make a difference for?” We’re all accountable to someone, and so is your boss. Is your boss trying to deliver value for board members, shareholders, customers, or their boss? Think deeper. Are they trying to impact the market, a peer group, or their results on the next management report? Megan, a manager of a large day care center told us that she couldn’t understand why her boss, the Regional Director, was giving her such a hard time at work. “I had cut operating costs significantly. I implemented all kinds of new procedures for the staff. But, It wasn’t until I realized that my boss was totally focused on increasing interaction time between the staff and the children that I could improve something that he cared about.”

2. Go and see. Listen for their common complaints and actually go look for differences you can make. Anil, an IT manager who felt underappreciated by his boss told us that it wasn’t until he walked into the sales department and asked reps why they weren’t using a new program, that he understood his boss’s frustration. The programs Anil developed were fantastic, but no one was using them because they did not know about them. He went to the marketing department and asked them to help him inform and educate people on the new program. When fellow employees began using the program, Anil got instant respect from his boss.

3. Join their team. Most of us don’t work at jobs that simply require us to follow rules explicitly. We’re in the age of innovation, and if you step into your boss’s shoes for a second to find out how you can make their life easier, you might be amazed by the respect returned. Shawn, who had just recently been hired as a Marketing Director told us that his CEO was questioning every media purchase his department was making. Although he was sending the CEO spreadsheets of marketing expenditures, demographics details, and ROI data, he didn’t account for the fact that CEO didn’t have the time to analyze all the data, and that, over time, the CEO had become exhausted by the lengthy reports. “He yelled at me,” said Shawn. “He told me he didn’t want all the details, but just wanted to know why we were choosing one media outlet over another.” Shawn changed his reports. Instead of spreadsheets and data, he sent overviews of media purchases, which explained why those outlets were chosen over others.

It’s true that all of us at one time in our careers have encountered the unbearable boss. However, if you really step back and think about all the bosses you’ve had that have been great, you’ll realize that they were probably the bosses who liked your work. They’re probably the bosses who applauded your thinking, or tenacity, or character. And, if you really want to get specific, your favorite bosses were probably those who loved what you did and inspired you to do more of it.

If you want to figure out how to get your boss off your back, create a difference they love. You never know, they just may become your favorite boss.

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10 Tips For Managing A Moody Boss

Learn more about the NYT Bestselling book Great Work: How to Make a Difference People Love .

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was told ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken in ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan Rakyat toda ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Huss ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southern states last m ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ser ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 m ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Dam ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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